Just 2 points separate 2012 Mayoral contenders Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone according to a new YouGov poll, suggesting the capital is set to witness a fiercely contested election.
Of those indicating they were certain to vote 46% said they would back incumbent Boris Johnson with 44% backing Ken Livingstone. The Liberal Democrats, who last week postponed their Mayoral selection until next year, were the choice of just 4%.
The Mayor increased his lead over his predecessor when respondents were asked if they “had to choose” between the two, with Johnson being the choice of 46% versus 41% opting for Livingstone.
The poll comes just weeks after Livingstone was formally adopted as Labour’s 2012 hopeful and Johnson confirmed he would be seeking re-election and before either candidate has formally started campaigning for the election.
The likely closeness of the race is further demonstrated by responses to questions about how well and how competent the two frontrunners are. While 58% think Johnson is doing a good job, 56% think Livingstone did well during his two terms.
Although the pair are ranked closely on some questions, Livingstone is the clear winner on the question of whether the pair are “competent or incompetent” with the former-Mayor ranked competent by 52%, 7 points ahead of his successor.
Johnson also fared badly on the question of how he was handling the Tube service with 47% saying he was handling it “badly” versus 43% who thought he was doing well.
However the Mayor received strong backing for his approach to tackling crime in the capital, with 48% saying he was handling the issue “well”.
The full poll is available on the YouGov website.