Business leaders would prefer Boris Johnson to be the next mayor of London, although they increasingly see him as a "buffoon" and doubt he will win the election on May 1st.
A ComRes survey of 100 City bosses for the Independent found 64 per cent want the Conservative MP to be the next mayor, vastly outstripping the 24 per cent backing Boris and the 15 per cent that would prefer Brian Paddick.
However, it remains unclear whether the apparent enthusiasm for Mr Johnson is instead driven by a reaction against Mr Livingstone, who is seeking a third term as London mayor.
By a proportion of two-to-one, respondents do not think Mr Livingstone has done a good job at City Hall, with 70 per cent saying he had been divisive and 72 per cent branding him too left-wing.
But three in five thought the incumbent had shown imagination and courage in driving through policies such as the congestion charge.
In contrast, only 30 per cent thought Mr Johnson had a clearly defined set of policies, down from 33 per cent in January.
Similarly, 63 per cent said Mr Johnson, famous for his appearances on Have I Got News For You, does not seem serious, up from 57 per cent.
The results suggest that, despite being credited with running a surprisingly professional campaign, the 'buffoon factor' still looms large.
In January, 53 per cent of respondents thought Mr Johnson was "too much of a buffoon" but this has risen to 65 per cent.
Despite this, 55 per cent think the Conservative candidate would present a good image of London, up from 46 per cent.
Asked who will win the election on May 1st, 69 per cent predicted Mr Livingstone would return for a third term.
Despite a 12-point lead in the opinion polls, 28 per cent were confident in Mr Johnson's abilities and just two per cent are predicting a Liberal Democrat win for Mr Paddick.