Poll shock: Ken overtakes Boris in London race

By Ian Dunt

The battle for City Hall experienced a major upset today when a poll showed Ken Livingstone had overtaken Boris Johnson.

The Labour candidate secured an impressive five-point swing since June and leads by 51% to 49%.

Analysts believe Ken's campaign on tube fares may have swung public opinion behind him.

"Boris's new year problem is that he is seen as increasingly out of touch," YouGov president Peter Kellner said.

"The race is too close to call."

Labour MP Tessa Jowell said: "The Labour campaign is one which is touching every doorstep, on every street in every borough across London and our promises to Londoners reflect their priorities in tough times.

"That's why there is growing support for a different mayor – one who is on their side and will cut their fares, not a part-time mayor who only stands up for a privileged few."

The result was not evidence of support for Labour, however but to attitudes towards Ken and Boris as individuals.

The current mayor is seen as increasingly out-of-touch, with just 13% saying he understands the needs of ordinary people, compared to 40% for Ken.