City panel says Boris Johnson will beat Livingstone in Mayoral contest even though polls point to close race

BORIS Johnson is highly likely to be re-elected Mayor of London next month, according to our readership panel, even if opinion polls show the race to occupy City Hall is remarkably close.

Ninety per cent of the Voice of the City panel, run in conjunction with PoliticsHome, said they expected Johnson to win, compared to just three per cent who thought his Labour opponent Ken Livingstone would be the victor.

Their faith in the Tory incumbent is in stark contrast to opinion polls. A recent ComRes poll showed Johnson was just six points ahead on 53 per cent in the second round of voting, compared with 47 per cent for his Labour counterpart.

Around three quarters of the panel said they intended to cast their first preference vote for Johnson, compared to just five per cent for Livingstone and six per cent for Brian Paddick, the Liberal Democrat candidate. Almost a fifth of panellists said they would cast their second preference vote for the UK Independence Party, likely demonstrating deep unease over Brussels’ attitude to the City.

The results will make for grim reading for Livingstone. Even though five per cent of panellists said they would cast their first vote for him, just three per cent said he could win.

It also shows support for the Labour politician, who occupied City Hall between 2000 and 2008, has ebbed away in the City. Although 95 per cent now say they would cast their first preference for one of the other candidates, around 20 per cent say they have voted for him in the past.

The Voice of the City panel has been specially recruited to represent a cross section of London’s business professionals.