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MORI: Ken heading for his biggest vote ever

April 26th, 2008


    …and a 60% turnout is projected

Due to a series of cock-ups details of the latest trade union-funded poll by Ipsos-MORI have been taken off the pollster’s website but they were on long enough to pick up some key information.

Ken’s first preference share projection was put at 41% which is way ahead of the 36.9% he got four years ago and the 39% that he achieved when he first swept into power in 2000.

    So for every SEVEN Londoners who gave Ken their first preferences in 2004 MORI found that EIGHT would do so on Thursday.

Another key figure that is quite startling was on turnout. MORI found that 60% of Londoners said they were “certain to vote” – a proportion that is way beyond anything that has ever been achieved in a London local election in modern times. Just compare that with the 34.43% that we saw in this election 2000 and the 36.95% that occurred four years ago when the Euro Elections took place on the same day.

Clearly this is a tightly fought contest which is attracting enormous interest but it is hard to see such a step change in voting behaviour.

And we could be more confident about the high “certain to vote” figure if we had not been down this road before. In 2000 the final survey in the Evening Standard had 50% saying they were certain and the only phone survey four years ago had a proportion well ahead of that which was achieved.

This did not matter in the previous contests because Ken was so far ahead. It will, however, matter this week because as soon as you trim the proportion of people voting then Ken’s figures drop sharply. At my suggestion in this latest poll MORI asked those surveyed whether they were in fact registered to vote. A total of 92% said they were and the remainder included a fair number who had declared earlier to the pollster that they were “10/10 – certains”

If this scaling back had not happened then Ken’s final margin would have been two points bigger. Just imagine then the impact if the turnout figure proportions are 50% or 45% – figures which are still well ahead of what has happened in previous mayoral elections?

Being fair to MORI this election is a massive challenge for all four firms that have been carrying out surveys. Low-turnouts can skew everything and their polling results are there for all to see and compare with the actual outcome.

Surprisingly this latest poll has had less impact on the betting markets than you would have expected. I’ve been waiting with a fist-full of cash ready to make some significant investments and the prices simply have not moved enough. As I write at 2.40am it is 0.65/1 on Boris with Ken at 1.54/1.

Mike Smithson






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