Boris Johnson's hopes of securing a second term as London Mayor received a jolt yesterday when a poll suggested his Labour rival, Ken Livingstone, had overtaken him.
All previous polls have shown Mr Johnson ahead, suggesting that Labour voters who had previously backed him because of his personal appeal are deserting him. Mr Livingstone has been campaigning hard against bus and train fare increases that came into effect at the New Year, promising to cut fares by 5 per cent.
The poll, by YouGov, suggests that transport costs and crime are the issues most likely to influence how Londoners vote. The poll found that most still think Mr Johnson is the more charismatic of the two, but when they were asked how they would run in a final run off, Livingstone led 51-49.
Peter Kellner, president of YouGov, said: "The proportion saying Boris is 'in touch with the concerns of ordinary people' has tumbled since June from 20 per cent to 13 per cent. A bearable score has become a terrible one."