The big news from yesterday’s YouGov poll was Sadiq Khan’s 16 point lead over Zac Goldsmith in the mayoral race but there’s another, pretty much unreported, finding contained within the full tables – UKIP looks set to become the third largest party on the London Assembly.
In addition to polling the mayoral race, YouGov also asked respondents how they’d vote in the Assembly constituency and list elections and, as you’d expect, Labour and the Tories dominate both races.
But the list system is designed to ensure smaller parties don’t get squashed out by the big two and for the past 16 years there’s been a permanent Green and Liberal Democrat presence on the Assembly, along with single term appearances by UKIP (2004) and the BNP (2008).
For the first 12 years of City Hall’s existence the Liberal Democrats were the third largest party on the Assembly, both in terms of votes and seats, but 2012 saw them drop to just 2 seats and take fewer votes than the Greens.
Some Lib Dems hoped to overtake the Greens this time around and show that they were on a recovery course after last year’s General Election drubbing. Meanwhile ambitious Greens were keen to retain the third party status won by Jenny Jones in 2012 and cement their status as a major party in London.
But YouGov’s numbers contain some disappointing news for both – they’re polling behind UKIP in the Assembly list contest.
The Eurosceptic, immigration capping party apparently has the backing of 7% of Londoners which, if matched by actual votes, could see it take two seats on the Assembly.
With 6% of the vote the Liberal Democrats would probably retain both of their current seats but any hopes of growing their representation would be dashed.
However the truly bad news is for the Greens – the 5% YouGov gives them would only be – at best – enough to win a single seat.
Under City Hall rules the amount of time parties get to speak during meetings and the amount of public cash and officer support available to it is determined by the number of AMs it has.
The halving of Green AMs, as suggested by yesterday’s poll, would dramatically cut the party’s role and influence at City Hall and, in four years time, could see it excluded from TV debates for the next set of London elections.
Meanwhile UKIP’s projected result would entitle the party to a level of media coverage and inclusion never previously enjoyed in London and would defy all those who believe its, to be polite, sceptical approach to immigration has no resonance or support in the capital.