For the first time since the election was called, London voters think Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would be a better Prime Minister than Theresa May, as the opposition opened up a 17-point lead on the Conservatives in the capital.
Asked who would make a better PM, 37% of respondents picked Corbyn and 34% said May, in a YouGov poll of 1,000 Londoners, produced for Queen Mary University of London, and released on Thursday.
A survey taken just after the manifesto launches last month had May ahead by 38% to 32% adding further fuel to suggestions the Conservatives lost their way after May’s “dementia tax” U-turn.
Labour is now on 50%, up nine points from 41% a month ago. Whereas the Conservatives have dropped three points during the same period and are now on 33%.
The current standing of the parties reflects how London voted in 1997 when Tony Blair won his landslide first victory.
According to an analysis by Professor Philip Cowley, director of the Mile End Institute at the university, if the poll proves an accurate reflection of voting behaviour on 8 June, the Tories may lose four London seats.
The findings suggests that Zac Goldsmith will fail in his bid to win back the seat in Richmond Park, and based purely on the poll, the study suggested the following seats could change hands:
Croydon Central from Conservative to Labour
Hendon from Conservative to Labour
Kingston and Surbiton from Conservative to Liberal Democrat
Twickenham from Conservative to Liberal Democrat
‘With the exception of Croydon Central, all of these are very marginal constituencies – and should be seen as too close to call on this polling,’ the university said.
Cowley said: “On these numbers, lots of previously marginal seats become fairly safe for Labour – Ilford North, for example, goes from a knife edge to a fairly comfortable 10% majority. That wasn’t really in the Conservative script.”
He cautioned that the “one unknown” is the impact of the Greens and Ukip not standing in certain constituencies.
“In the end though, I doubt it will make much difference – their combined support has shrunk from 13% in 2015 to around five points now,” Crowley said.
“The combined Labour and Conservative vote share is 83%, which we’ve not seen in London since 1979. There’s some good news for the Lib Dems, but in most seats in London this is increasingly an old-school red versus blue fight.”
Cowley added to the Evening Standard: “This wasn’t part of the Conservative script for the election.
“They didn’t expect to be looking at potential losses in London. It’s also striking how the smaller parties are struggling in the capital. The combined Labour and Conservative vote in London is now higher than at any time since 1979.”
On national security, despite much being made of Corbyn’s record opposing anti-terrorist laws and his links to Sinn Fein and Hamas, almost as many people trusted him to keep Britain safe - 41% cent - as May - 42%. May was distrusted by 46% and Corbyn 47%.
Meanwhile, just three percent of those surveyed said the bombing in Manchester will change the way they vote, with 85% stating that they intend to vote the same way.
The survey showed a “very wide generational divide” in terms of party support, between voters, the university said.
The Labour Party is preferred by 59% of 18-24 voters, while the Conservatives are supported by 60% of the over 65s.
The Labour Party is 21 points ahead of the Conservatives among 25-49 year olds, and 16 points ahead among 50-64 year olds.
Corbyn was more popular with women than men, while May was the opposite.
The findings are the third instalment in Polling London, a new research project from QMUL.