Peter Hoskin

A sprinkling of Sugar

A sprinkling of Sugar
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Plenty to ponder in the latest YouGov poll for the Evening Standard.  Its headline finding puts the Tories 12 points ahead in London; with Cameron & Co. on 45 percent, Labour on 33 percent and the Lib Dems on 16 percent.  Sure, that's less of an advantage than the Tories enjoy nationally, but it would still see them winning the capital - with 40 of the 74 contested seats - for  the "first time in a generation".  The Standard reckons that ministers such as Tony McNulty, Ann Keen and Sadiq Khan would be among the Labour casualties.

And then there are some eyecatching numbers surrounding the Mayoralty.  The rise and rise of Boris continues, with him increasing his lead over Ken Livingstone since the pair ran against each other in last year's election.  Then, the first preference votes were stacked 43-37 in Boris's favour.  Now, the current Mayor would win out by 49-33.  But those numbers are tempered by a suggestion that Sir Alan Sugar - one of the names most frequently mooted as a contender for the Mayoral job - is more popular with voters than Boris.  Were Sir Alan to run as an independent candidate, he'd get 40 percent of the vote, against 32 percent for the incumbent.  

Of course, there are plenty of variables and imponderables between now and the next Mayoral election.  But I think Paul Waugh has got it spot on when he writes that these latest findings suggest "the big winners in directly elected races are the anti-politicians".  A significant part of Boris's success is due to his apparent, almost paradoxical, distance from Westminster.  The question is whether this advantage will be nullified by someone with even fewer formal ties to the political centre.  Especially as, from next year, Boris's Tory compatriots will most likely be in government too.

UPDATE: Paul Waugh has more on the story.  Is Sir Alan hinting he may run for Mayor?