Ken Livingstone’s campaign have called into doubt a new YouGov poll for the Evening Standard which suggests Tory Candidate Boris Johnson is 10 points ahead of the incumbent.
A statement by ‘Team Ken’ said “It is a serious matter to call a poll wrong. For inherent statistical reasons even the best conducted polls will periodically produce rogue results and therefore the previous YouGov poll showing Boris Johnson 12% ahead in the race for London Mayor, out of line with other polling, could have been a statistical freak.”
“However examination of the YouGov poll published today – which shows Boris Johnson 10% ahead – and the previous one shows them to be fundamentally statistically flawed for the following clear reasons.”
Repeating concerns first raised by this website the statement goes on to say “Today’s poll shows minority parties (that is all parties other than the three main ones) receiving only 5% of the vote and the YouGov poll published on 17 March showing them receiving 3%. This is totally implausible – in 2004 these parties got nearly 19% of the vote. This shows YouGov is using a sample systematically out of line with London’s electorate and grossly under recording parts of the electorate.”
Labour’s statement said polling by other companies “indicates YouGov has a record of significantly underestimating Ken Livingstone’s vote in London. On the day before the last Mayoral election YouGov put put Ken Livingstone just two per cent ahead of the Conservative Steve Norris, leading to an Evening Standard headline of ‘It’s Neck and Neck’ even although Livingstone actually won by nearly 11 per cent.”
However YouGov’s Peter Kellner disputed this claim telling MayorWatch “In our final poll for the Evening Standard in 2004, our comparable figures to our latest poll (i.e. counting everyone who states a voting preference) were exactly right for Livingstone, in relation to both first preferences (37%) and the run-off count (55%). The only published telephone poll in the later stages of that campaign – Populus for The Times – put Livingstone on 42% (1st preferences) and 58% (runoff).”
Addressing the question of low polling for smaller parties compard to their actual results in 2004’s elections Mr Kellner said “It’s worth recalling that the mayoral election was held on the same day as the elections for the European Parliament, with UKIP scoring 16% nationally. Some of this rubbed off on their London candidate, who won the largest share of minority-party candidates.”
“This year there is no Euro-election, and little publicity for UKIP. Moreover, the current contest is understandably presented in the media as a battle between two personalities with strong public profiles. Taking both factors iunto account, I am not surprised that the combined Livingstone-Johnson total is significantly higher than the Livingstone-Norris total last time, with both the Lib Dems and minority candidates finding themsleves squeezed.”