Sadiq Khan remains on course for a comfortable win in next May’s rescheduled London Mayor election according to a new opinion poll, which finds he remains the first choice candidate of nearly half of the capital’s voters.
The latest survey by Redfield & Wilton Strategies suggests the Labour Mayor enjoys a 20-point lead over his nearest challenger, the Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey, with 48% of respondents saying he will receive their first preference vote compared with 28% who prefer Bailey.
A Liberal Democrat candidate would receive 11% of first preference and the Green Party candidate Sian Berry would receive 9%, according to the poll. The Lib Dems have begun a contest to find a new candidate following the withdrawal of their original choice, Siobhan Benita.
A poll by the same company early last month put Khan on 49% and Bailey on 26%. The last mayoral poll before that, conducted by YouGov in March, before the Covid-19 lockdown came into effect, gave Khan 49% and Bailey 24%.
The new poll indicates that Khan is particularly popular in Inner London, where he scores 54% to Bailey’s 24%, but has a large lead over Bailey in Outer London too, by 44% to 31%. His lead over Bailey among women is 51% to 25%, and among men it is 45% compared with 32%.
Among young Londoners Khan has a commanding advantage according to the poll, with 64% of 18-24-year-olds making him their first preference choice. Bailey is the first choice of 11% of this group, just ahead of the Lib Dems and Berry, both on 10%. Khan leads Bailey by 59% to 17% among 25-34-year-old Londoners, by 42% to 29% among 35-44-year-olds and by 47% to 34% among 45-54-year-olds.
The race is closer among 55-64-year-olds, where Khan leads Bailey by 37% to 34%, and Bailey leads Khan among the over 65s by 42% to 41%.
Asked if they approve of Khan’s performance as Mayor, 11% of Londoners said they “strongly approve” and 34% say they “approve”, compared with 13% who “strongly disapprove” and 14% who “disapprove”, giving Khan a net approval rating of +18%. This is 2% lower than in the August poll, though Redfield & Wilton note that change this “falls within the margin of error”.
More Londoners are satisfied to some degree than are dissatisfied with Khan’s policies on policing, the environment, supporting London’s economy and, in particular, transport, where 45% are either “very satisfied” or “satisfied” compared with 27% who are “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied”. The gap for policing is 11%, for the economy it is 17% and for the environment it is 7%.
But more Londoners are dissatisfied to some degree with his housing policies, with 8% saying they are “very satisfied” and 23% “satisfied” compared with 13% who are “very dissatisfied” and 20% who are “dissatisfied” – an overall dissatisfaction deficit for the Mayor of 2%.
The London Mayor election is held under the Supplementary Vote system, which means voters can chose a first and a second preference candidate. If one candidate secures more than 50% of first preferences, he or she is declared the winner. Otherwise, the first and second placed candidates go through to a second round of counting, in which their totals are augmented by second preference votes they received from voters whose first preference candidates have been eliminated.
The Redfield and Wilton poll also probed Londoners’ views about and understanding of the power and influence of London Mayors compared with those of the national government.
Sixty-six percent said they believe “the role of London Mayor has a huge impact on the day-to-day lives of Londoners” compared with 23% who think the role has “little effect” in this respect. However, 43% believe “the Prime Minister has more control over policies specific to London than the London Mayor” compared to 37% who think the reverse and 20% who don’t know.
In policy areas where Mayors have some formal powers and responsibilities, 66% said the PM and Westminster have more of these than the Mayor (and the London Assembly) over economic growth and 24% the reverse. Londoners also think the PM and Westminster have more power and responsibility over policing than the Mayor, though by the much smaller margin of 45% to 42%.
In housing, however, 53% think the Mayor ( with the Assembly) has more power and responsibility than the PM and Westminster (38%) and 71% compared with 21% think the Mayor has the most over transport.
Redfield & Wilton’s full findings, including their data tables, can be read here.
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