It's all about turnout now - a point reinforced by a presentation being circulated by Ipsos-MORI. The chart below shows how, according to their numbers, Livingstone's likelihood of winning increases as turnout increases.
The race for Mayor is justn't a battle between Boris, Ken and Brian; it's a battle between MORI, Mruk Cello, ICM and YouGov. Last minute events and differential turnouts mean that polls never pretend to be accurate predictions of a result but over the next few days we'll be updating this table to compare the pollsters' final numbers.
On Friday we had what we think is MORI's final poll and that showed a victory for Ken Livingstone on second preferences by 6%.
Today a Mruk Cello poll for The Sunday Times also has Livingstone ahead on second preferences but only by 2%.
Tomorrow, for the Evening Standard, we'll have YouGov's final survey - YouGov has consistently put Boris Johnson in the lead.
We are also expecting an ICM survey. We'll fill the box in as we get all of the results.
A new Ipsos-MORI poll funded by Unison has Livingstone ahead by 3% on first preferences and 6% with
second preferences. The Guardian notes
that strangely the final results include answers from people known not
to be registered voters. With this taken into account the lead
decreases to 4%.
PoliticalBetting has the story and notes that it's not yet clear whether the wording has been improved on since the last poll.
A poll by Mruk Cello for The Sunday Times points to a very close race for the London Mayoralty. Mruk Cello, associated with polling in Scotland only until now, join MORI and ICM in pointing to a close outcome to this race. YouGov, in contrast, polling every Monday for the London Evening Standard, has suggested Boris Johnson is on course for victory on second preferences. There'll be another YouGov/ Standard poll tomorrow.
Opinion amongst political insiders has also been tightening. As poll day nears, a majority of the one hundred Westminster insiders surveyed on a weekly basis by PoliticsHome.com are still predicting a Boris victory but that majority is sharply down from 75% to 25% to just 57% to 43%.
The Boris campaign are not unhappy at the latest polls. They had been worried that complacency was creeping in to some parts of the party. They expect strongly negative advertising from Ken Livingstone in the run in to polling day and are keen to ensure that every Tory activist gets out on to the pavements to get the vote out. One member of Team Boris told us that "the polls are pretty meaningless now; this is all about turnout, turnout, turnout". On that score, at least, Mruk Cello found that Boris supporters were likeliest to vote.
The race for the London Mayoralty isn't just a battle between Boris, Ken and Brian but also between YouGov, ICM and MORI.
YouGov are showing Boris well ahead while ICM and now MORI are pointing to a much closer race. As revealed by The Guardian, MORI (Ken Livingstone's own pollster) has him 2% ahead on second preferences. The graphic above illustrates the position on first preferences.
The Johnson campaign won't mind this finding too much. They know that getting out the vote is crucial and they want every Conservative voter to think that it matters that they get to the polls. It does.
A poll yesterday of political insiders for the new PoliticsHome.com website showed that 75% expected a victory for Boris Johnson and just 25% a victory for the incumbent.
What the polls don't measure is the crucial get-out-the-vote operation where the Tories probably have the edge. No room for complacency though for Boris. Livingstone will enjoy painting himself as Komeback Ken.
The latest opinion poll gives Boris Johnson a 12% lead over Ken Livingstone. Fraser Nelson is even speculating that the bicycling Boris might win on the first round. Things aren't exactly getting any better for Mr Livingstone. His campaign launch has been overshadowed by the news that he might have been in breach of Electoral Commission rules for seven years. Credit to the tireless Greg Hands MP for doing the digging on that.
Many people deserve credit for Boris' success. Stand outs are George Osborne for leading the party's attempts to correct last autumn's drift and Lynton Crosby for bringing strategic clarity to the campaign. But most of all, of course, the hero is Boris himself.
He always had celebrity. At the Gateshead Spring Forum, staff behind the bar were overheard saying that they regretted not meeting him. But he's got some discipline too, now.
Across London Conservatives who once moaned about a lack of reliability are noting punctuality and a crispness and directness of message.
What can Boris do to close the deal with Londoners? In a commentary for Monday's Evening Standard Tony Travers identified the Tory hopeful's main remaining weaknesses. Labour's detailed polling suggests, not surprisingly, that Boris is vulnerable to charges of "incompetence" and "inexperience".
In the final phase of the campaign - there are about forty days left - Boris Johnson won't be able to transform all perceptions of himself but he can offer reassurance to voters that he plans to put a team in place that Londoners can have confidence in. Boris needs to take up some of the ideas proposed last week by the London Policy Institute's James Morris. Central to James Morris' five point plan was a Mayoral Cabinet that could include GLA members, council leaders and people with relevant experience of the business world. Such a proposal would not convince every sceptic but it would reassure many people that Boris Johnson had a plan to ensure a competent and effective administration.
There is also some speculation as to who Boris could appoint as a race adviser - he has faced unfair charges from Livingstone and Livingstone-funded surrogates that he is insensitive on race issues. Rather than a race adviser his Mayoral Cabinet could usefully include people from minority communities who are also authorities in key areas of policy importance. Ray Lewis, for example, of the Eastside Young Leaders' Academy would be an excellent pick. A former prison governor, Ray would be an first class adviser to the Mayor on social enterprise and youth crime.
Picture: Boris Johnson addressing the Tory Spring Forum in Gateshead. The grassroots gave him a standing ovation after he told them that it was only 48 days until Ken 'Leavingsoon' had unlimited time to enjoy free bus travel.
A little while ago we trailed the launch of a new poll of political insiders. It hasn't launched properly yet but a test survey was carried out yesterday. Two of the questions focused on the race for London Mayor. The PoliticsHomeIndex100 are evenly divided on who will win. 48% predict a victory for Boris. 46% for Ken Livingstone.
Boris is also thought to be running the better campaign but Andrew Rawnsley, revealed as Editor in Chief of PoliticsHome, notes that neither campaign is rated that highly:
"The Mayor of London has one of the biggest direct electorates in Europe. But the PHI100 are deeply underwhelmed by the contest to become the next king of the capital. The panel thinks both Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson are running lacklustre campaigns to be Mayor of London. Asked to rate the campaigns on a scale of 1 to 10, the panel average rated both at less than 5. If this was Strictly Come Dancing, they'd both be heading for the exit. Brian Paddick for the Lib Dems does no better. Operation Boris was a nose ahead of Campaign Ken by 4.9 to 4.3."
"Ipsos MORI's poll for the Labour Party shows Labour candidate Ken
Livingstone on 48% and Conservative candidate Boris Johnson on 46%
among Londoners who are certain to vote and in the upcoming Mayoral
elections." More here.
MORI polled from 8 to 12 February. The polling for yesterday's YouGov survey gave Boris the edge and the polling was (we think) a little more recent.