In what is probably the final, meaningful opinion poll (oxymoron klaxon) before voting in the London elections next Thursday, Labour’s Sadiq Khan – “the council estate boy from south London” – appears on track to become the capital’s third mayor, beating Tory Old Etonian #BackZacAndCrack Goldsmith by 20 per cent after second preferences.
The Survation poll, published on Thursday, puts Khan on 60 per cent to Goldsmith’s 40per cent. It is possibly more significant, given the general distrust of polling reliability following the 2015 experience, in that it is an identical result to that found by YouGov a week earlier.
And that could be very worrying news for Tory do-nothing Steve O’Connell, who is seeking a third term of generous allowances and freebie Palace tickets as the London Assembly Member for Croydon and Sutton, as the quietly impressive Marina Ahmad requires just a 3 per cent swing from the 2012 vote to become the boroughs’ first Labour Party AM.
But Labour will take little comfort from the polling, since they fear that the wide margin in favour of Khan may lead to complacency among supporters and a low turn-out, giving the better-resourced Tories a chance to snatch an unlikely victory.
And the threat of a Lynton Crosby-inspired eve-of-polls media blitz suggests that an already narky campaign might yet become nastier still.
The London Mayor ballot is that rarity in English democracy, in offering a hint of election reform by seeking electors’ first and second preferences.
According to this polling, Khan could come very close to becoming London Mayor on first preferences alone, with nearly half of the vote.
The result of this week’s Survation poll, based on those first preferences, holds little prospect of candidates from third (or fourth) parties making much of a breakthrough, with UKIP’s Peter Whittle the “best of the rest” on a mere 5%:
- Sadiq Khan (Labour) 49%
- Zac Goldsmith (Conservative) 34%
- Peter Whittle (Back to 1954 Party) 5%
- Caroline Pidgeon (Liberal Democrats) 3%
- Sian Berry (Green) 3%
- George Galloway (George Galloway) 2%
There are six other candidates, none of whom managed to poll more than 1 per cent.
There remain, though, good reasons for scepticism about Khan’s prospects of becoming London Mayor next Friday.
For one, the polling was conducted before the latest Labour Party clusterfuck, as Ken Livingstone cowered in a disabled toilet in between touring every broadcast studio that would have him. London’s first – and for many, best – Mayor was promptly suspended from the Labour Party, a move welcomed by Marina Ahmad and firmly endorsed by a clearly angry Khan.
But the real damage done to Labour’s credibility as an electoral force can’t be assessed until the votes are counted next week.
And then there’s the race issue.
Bienkov also reports that, “Goldsmith’s campaign plans a new blitz of attacks against Khan in the run-up to polling day, in a last bid to turn opinion against the front-runner. Some believe an eve of polling-day surprise, backed by a press which is heavily hostile to Labour, could still steal the show.”
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