A new opinion poll has found Sadiq Khan to be in a dominant position in the rescheduled contest to be London Mayor, with almost half of those responding saying he is currently their first choice candidate.
The extensive survey of 2,500 Londoners by pollsters Redfield and Wilton discovered that 49 per cent intend to make Khan their first preference in the election now to be held next May, leaving his closest challenger, the Conservative Shaun Bailey, a distant second with 26 per cent.
The Labour incumbent’s massive lead suggests he has come through the Covid-19 crisis so far with his popularity unscathed, despite Bailey and fellow London Assembly Tories claiming that he is to blame for the recent increase in the level the operating hours of the congestion charge demanded by the government as a condition of its financial bailout of Transport for London, and saying he could do more to reduce violent crime.
However, 35 per cent of those polled said they were satisfied or strongly satisfied with Khan’s policies for reducing crime, compared with 29 per cent who were dissatisfied or strongly so. The policy area most often chosen as the one where Khan has made most improvement is transport (28 per cent). Khan’s overall approval rating stands at +20 per cent, with 46 per cent saying they approve of his performance as Mayor compared with 26 per cent who disapprove.
Twelve per cent of respondents said they will opt for an as yet unknown Liberal Democrat candidate at the election – the party’s original contender Siobhan Benita recently dropped out – while nine per cent named the Green Party’s Siân Berry as their first preference.
Khan’s share of current voting intentions indicates he has a chance of being the first London Mayor to be elected without second preference votes having to be counted. Securing more than 50 per cent of first preferences would mean a second round run-off against his nearest challenger would not be needed.
Khan’s lead over Bailey is even more pronounced among women, by 52 per cent to 23 per cent, while his lead among men is by 46 per cent to 29 per cent. Near equal proportions of Inner (48 per cent) and Outer London voters (49 per cent) say Khan is their first choice.
He is overwhelmingly preferred by younger voters, with 65 per cent of 18-to-24-year-olds and 60 per cent of 25-to-34-year-olds favouring him over other candidates. Among the 35-to-44 age group, he enjoys a score of 52 per cent. Only among those aged over 65 did Bailey outpoll Khan.
Remarkably, 13 per cent of respondents who said they voted Conservative at last year’s general election said they intend to vote for Khan next May while 23 per cent of those who voted Lib Dem said the same. Redfield and Wilton also found that the Labour Party leads the Conservatives by 19 per cent in London, showing that Bailey is less popular in the capital than his party, while Khan’s rating runs ahead of his. Exactly half of those polled said they are certain to vote in the mayoral election.
The Redfield and Wilton poll is the first since Rory Stewart, the former Tory minister who entered the contest as an Independent, withdrew from the race in early May. Bailey is likely to have hoped that some of Stewart’s support, put at 13 per cent by YouGov in March, would have come his way. That poll too put Khan on 49 per cent, with Bailey on 24.
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