Labour party campaigners in London have welcomed an ITV/YouGov London poll which puts support for Ken Livingstone four points ahead of that for Tory rival Boris Johnson.
The poll shows Ken Livingstone’s support at 44 per cent, with Mr Johnson on 40 per cent and LibDem Brian Paddick trailing on 8 per cent.
Under Mayoral election rules voters can select two candidates in order of preference. Unless any candidate has more than 50% of first preference votes the second preference votes of lower ranked candidates are distributed until a winner emerges.
The poll comes after weeks of torrid headlines which the Mayor’s supporters claim these form part of an organised campaign of support for Boris Johnson and a Channel 4 documentary which made a number of serious about Livingstone’s administration.
A spokesperson for Mr Livingstone’s campaign said: “This is a welcome opening up of Ken’s lead, especially as Internet polling has always underestimated Ken’s support compared to actual elections and other opinion polls.”
Dismissing recent media reports the spokesperson said “the election for Mayor will be decided on the key issues of transport, crime, affordable housing, good community relations and the environment and Londoners will refuse to be distracted by nonsense and falsifications being spouted out daily in media storms from his opponents.”
“Ken will run on his record and extending London’s success into a third term. He has already announced two new commitments – to extend the hours of the Freedom Pass to a twenty four hour service and his plan to extend student travel discounts – and others will follow on the environment, crime, good community relations, transport and housing.
“For six weeks Andrew Gilligan and the Evening Standard have poured out masses of vitriol in the dirtiest campaign in London for twenty years, in an attempt to divert attention from the real issues in this election and to assist the Tory candidate Boris Johnson. Londoners have given them the answer they deserved.’
“London can continue moving forward with Ken or adopt the dead-end right wing policies of the Tory party under Boris Johnson, who lacks any serious answers to the issues facing London.”
Mr Johnson’s campaign team failed to respond to requests for a comment.