Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Voters Can't Decide between Boris and Ken on Economy

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Voters Can't Decide between Boris and Ken on Economy

Article excerpt

Byline: Pippa Crerar City Hall Editor

LONDONERS want the next mayor to create more jobs and rescue the economy -- but they have no idea which candidate to choose.

As the official election battle for City Hall kicked off today, a poll showed six in 10 voters are most concerned about the economy. But they struggled to decide whether Boris Johnson or Ken Livingstone had the best plans to boost growth.

The Ipsos MORI poll for BBC London News found a huge 40 per cent of voters said they were undecided which candidate had the best ideas on the economy, showing all is still to play for. When asked who had the most impressive ideas on jobs and the economy, voters were equally split, with 27 per cent support for each candidate.

Two of the traditionally biggest issues for the Mayor -- tackling crime and public transport -- were of greatest concern for 49 per cent and 38 per cent of voters respectively.

Mr Johnson nudged ahead of his Labour rival by just a few per cent on both issues with former Met chief, Lib-Dem Brian Paddick, performing strongly on crime.

Affordable housing came next at 37 per cent -- reflecting the worry that many Londoners feel about being priced out of the capital with soaring rent and property prices. Just 16 per cent of voters said the environment was their biggest concern while five per cent said the Olympic legacy. The focus on the economy just a day before the Budget came as little surprise to the main candidates who were today in their heartlands to kick off their official campaigns. The election takes place on May 3. Mr Johnson won the 2008 contest by 140,000 votes on a record turn-out of 45 per cent-- ending Mr Livingstone's eight year reign at City Hall.

The poll today also showed that Mr Johnson is seen as more likeable than his Labour rival, the best ambassador for London and would get the best deal for Londoners from Government. …

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