It's still a long way off (May 3rd 2012 is the date for your diary) but there is an encouraging poll out today for the next election for Mayor of London. Conducted by ComRes (on behalf of the Evening Standard, LBC Radio and London Tonight) it asks:

Who of the following would you be most likely to vote for as Mayor of London?

Those interviewed are offered Boris Johnson (who gets 45%), Ken Livingstone (who gets 27%), Oona King (on 9%.) Even if you add the Livingstone and King vote together that still has Boris ahead by 45% to 36%. The poll has 19% saying "none of these" and so there should be a note of caution as to what those who vote for the Lib Dem candidate and others do with their second preferences. Last time Livingstone got more second preferences – but only by a small margin.

Of course it will be a very tough battle. At this year's General Election, Labour won more seats in London than the Conservatives. When Boris was elected he won by just over 7% – at a time when the Conservative poll lead over Labour was around 14%. But this new poll suggests that even if the Conservatives nationally are unpopular in 2012, Boris could win on the basis of his own record and future plans. So it is enormously heartening.

The poll also showed overwhelming support for changing the law to make it harder to strike on London Underground.