A new opinion poll commissioned by trade union UNISON has found that the race for Mayor of London is still effectively neck and neck.

In the IPSOS-MORI poll the 48% who say they are “absolutely certain to vote,” shows the first preference results were 41% for incumbent Mayor and Labour candidate Ken Livingstone, 40% for Conservative Boris Johnson.

Lib Dem candidate Brian Paddick took 14% and the Green party’s Sian Berry 5%.

Taking all those expressing a voting preference (85 per cent) the results were 45% for Ken Livingstone, 38% for Boris Johnson, 11% for Brian Paddick, and 5% Sian Berry, a lead for Ken Livingstone of seven points.

When second preference votes were counted for those certain to vote, Ken Livingstone’s lead was 2 points – 51% to 49%.

1,000 people, a representative sample, were polled by phone between 1st and 7th April.

The poll contrasts sharply with surveys from online pollster YouGov which last week showed Mr Johnson with a double digit lead over Mr Livingstone.

“The poll which counts is on 1st May but Londoners who want London to continue to move forward to tackle the great possibilities and challenges of the 21st century, rather than retreating into being a narrow Conservative backwater, know they have every chance of this,” said Mr Livingstone.

Mr Johnson today accused his Labour opponent of misleading Londoners on crime levels in the capital.

The Tory, who is MP for Henley, said that other crimes may have fallen but alongside violent crime, robbery has also increased.

He claimed that Londoners are almost twice as likely to be mugged on the streets of the capital as they are on the streets of New York and the number of children under the age of 10 being mugged rose by 23% in 2006.

“This Labour Mayor is completely out of touch with the realities of what is going on in the capital,” said Mr Johnson.

“The statistics show that violent crime as a whole is rising in London, yet he misleads Londoners with the figures he recites.

“Unlike Ken Livingstone, I believe it is the Mayor’s job to take direct responsibility, which is why I have pledged to chair the Metropolitan Police Authority.

“I will provide the police with more hand-held scanners to tackle the guns and knives on our streets.

“I will also use the weight of the Mayoral office to campaign against the bureaucracy and form-filling that keeps too many police from giving us the protection we deserve.

“My top priority is to make our streets and public transport safer.”

Londoners will go to the polls to elect a Mayor and the 25-member London Assembly on May 1st.

Ken Livingstone, Boris Johnson, Brian Paddick, Sian Berry and Respect – The Left list candidate Lindsey German will all speak and answer questions at a Stonewall hustings event at BFI Southbank on Saturday 19th April.

PinkNews.co.uk is proud to be Stonewall’s media partner for the hustings, which will be held at the between 11am and 12.30pm.

The event is open to everyone, but in order to ensure a seat you must register here.

Full list of candidates for Mayor of London:

Richard Barnbrook

British National Party

Gerard Batten

UK Independence Party

Sian Berry

Green Party

Alan Craig

Christian Peoples Alliance and Christian Party

Lindsey German

The Left List

Boris Johnson

Conservative Party

Ken Livingstone

Labour Party

Winston McKenzie

Independent

Matt O’Connor

English Democrats

Brian Paddick

Liberal Democrats

The Stonewall hustings will be the last before Londoners go to the polls.