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Londoners divided on Sadiq Khan’s performance as Mayor

by LLB political Reporter
22nd Mar 24 10:22 am

New polling reveals that while Sadiq Khan continues to hold a significant lead over his competitors in the run-up to the London mayoral election, Londoners are divided on his performance as Mayor to date.

The current Labour Party Mayor leads with 51% of the vote, followed by the Conservative Party candidate Susan Hall with 27%, the Liberal Democrat candidate Rob Blackie with 10%, the Green Party candidate Zoë Garbett on 8%, and Reform UK’s candidate Howard Cox on 2%.

Opinions on Sadiq Khan’s record are divided 

Despite Khan’s commanding lead, Londoner’s remain divided on his performance across a number of key policy areas, including housing and crime. At least half of Londoners think that Sadiq Khan had done badly or very badly on several areas, of which the top three are:

  • Tackling homelessness in London (58% said he has done badly or very badly)
  • Dealing with knife crime and gangs (58%)
  • Improving the availability of housing in London (56%)

When asked the most important issues facing London; respondents chose inflation and cost of living (53%), the NHS (46%), housing (39%) and crime (33%).

However, more than half of London residents said that Sadiq Khan, who has been in office since 2016, has done well or very well in three areas we asked about:

  • Making London diverse, multicultural, and tolerant (59% said he had done well or very well)
  • Protecting London’s green spaces (56%)
  • Managing London’s transport network (53%)

Londoners are split down the middle on the question on Khan’s overall performance, with 38% saying they are satisfied with his time in office and 37% saying they are dissatisfied.

Antonia Jennings, Chief Executive at Centre for London, said, “At its core, the job of mayor is about representing Londoners, recognising demographic and geographical differences in priorities.”

“Despite these differences, the data we released today revealed three stand-out points where Londoners felt our current Mayor was performing badly – homelessness, housing, and crime. With rough sleeping up by 50% in the last decade and knife crime in London up 22% in the last year, it’s unsurprising these issues are at the forefront of Londoners minds. We cannot see these trends continue. Our next Mayor needs to face these challenges head-on, with a long-term plan and substantial investment.”

“Yet, the Mayor’s power remains limited, and all action will need significant support from national government. London Councils are already warning of huge funding gaps, missing an estimated £700 million from their social housing budgets, while Sadiq Khan has already diverted council tax and business rates revenue to plug over £1 billion into the Met police after budget cuts from national government. We need collaborative leadership, where Westminster and the London mayor unify their policymaking and funding efforts. Without it, too many Londoners will be left in dire situations.”

Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta said, “Khan’s lead is commanding, but potentially deceptive. Londoners are not entirely convinced of his record on a number of their key issues, including crime and housing, and London polling has historically overstated Labour performance and understated the Conservatives.

“Alongside the potential impact of a new electoral system and Voter ID laws, this could be a tighter race than these topline figures imply.”

“However, the most likely outcome with an unpopular Conservative candidate and an even more unpopular Conservative government is a resounding Khan victory.”

Support for candidates varies by respondents’ age, region, and ethnicity 

  • Younger voters aged 18-34 overwhelmingly back Khan, with 64% saying they would vote for him, followed by a tie between Hall and Blackie at 11% each. Conversely, over 55-year-olds show a preference for Hall (43%) over Khan (36%).
  • Support for Khan is no different in inner London (51%) than outer London (51%). Meanwhile, Hall sees more support among people in outer London (30%) than inner London (20%). Conversely, Blackie received higher levels of support from respondents in inner London (14%) than outer London (7%).
  • Support for each candidate also varies by respondents’ ethnicity. Respondents who are Asian or Black were more likely to say they would vote for Khan (70% and 69%, respectively) than respondents who are White (39%). Meanwhile, a higher proportion of White respondents say they would vote for Susan Hall (34%) than voters of Black ethnicity (12%).

Views by demographic status 

People from an Asian (67%) or Black (69%) ethnic background were more likely than those of a  White (54%) ethnicity to say that Sadiq Khan had done well on making London more diverse, multicultural, and tolerant.

Older people, who on the whole are less likely than younger people to say they would vote for Sadiq Khan in an election, were more likely than younger people to say that Khan had done badly on every area we asked about, from tackling homelessness (68% among 55+ vs 53% among 18-34s) to dealing with knife crime and gangs (78% among 55+ vs 47% among 18-34s).

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