Polling shows Sadiq Khan could win London mayoral race in first round

Sienna Rodgers

Polling suggests that Sadiq Khan could win the London mayoral race in the first round on the basis of first preference votes alone as the Labour candidate maintains a strong lead ahead of voters heading to polls on May 6th.

Khan won the 2016 mayoral election 44.2% of first preferences and 56.8% of the vote in the second round. Tory candidate Zac Goldsmith secured a 43.2% share of votes in the second round, with other candidates eliminated.

Research by Opinium suggests he could do better this year. Although Khan is down two percentage points compared to the last poll, the Labour candidate is on 51% of votes compared to 29% for the Conservative candidate.

Shaun Bailey has been strongly criticised for his Tory mayoral campaign, described as “comically bad” by The New Statesman. YouGov polling also shows Khan is way ahead of his Conservative rival, with at least a 20-point lead.

Opinium polling shows Green candidate Siân Berry and Liberal Democrat candidate Luisa Porritt tied third on 8%, both up one point on the last poll, UKIP’s Peter Gammons on 1% and 2% selecting “another candidate”.

The same research does also show, however, that Khan’s net approval is relatively narrow: 41% approve of his handling of the London mayor job, while 34% disapprove, and 19% of Labour voters disapprove of his performance.

Crime is the top issue for London voters, according to the polling, followed by the NHS, housing and the economy. Khan has a lead across all four key issues with voters saying he has the best approach to their priorities.

Commenting on the results, James Crouch, senior research manager in the polling team at Opinium, said: “There is nothing in our latest poll which casts doubt on the most likely outcome of the election next month.

“Even if it’s touch and go whether Sadiq Khan will get over 50% on first preference votes, he still has a clear lead over the Conservative candidate. Some might be unsettled at the drop in his approval rating over the past few weeks but it has not seriously dented his chances of re-election.

“The biggest change mid-campaign is that crime is now perceived to be the most important issue in the capital, replacing health and the NHS. Mr Khan has a lower lead on this issue, which might explain the slight dip in his polling numbers.

“Nevertheless, while Shaun Bailey remains behind Mr Khan on every issue, including crime, it’s almost impossible to see a successful route to the mayoralty for the Conservatives.”

Voters are set to choose who will run London on May 6th, as people also vote in elections for 5,000 councillors, 40 police and crime commissioners, the Scottish and Welsh parliament, seven metro mayors and five local authority mayors.

Residents in the capital will take part in the London Assembly elections for Greater London Authority members and pick their preferred candidate to be the mayor of London in contests that were postponed due to the pandemic.

Labour’s manifesto for London sets a target of 10,000 new council homes, commits to piloting a City Hall developer, aims to make the city carbon neutral by 2030 and create over 170,000 new green jobs amongst other pledges.

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