Voters divided on Sadiq Khan months before London Mayor election

Ross Lydall

Sadiq Khan’s satisfaction rating among Londoners remains fragile with only months until the mayoral election, City Hall polling reveals.

Mr Khan saw his net popularity score fall to -1 in May, with 30 per cent of respondents satisfied and 31 per cent dissatisfied with his performance, according to the YouGov survey of 1,272 Londoners.

However another as-yet unpublished Greater London Authority poll conducted last month is understood to have given Mr Khan a +4 point rating.

The first assessment of the chances of former cabinet minister Rory Stewart, who declared he was running for Mayor as an independent after quitting the Tory party on October 3, is due next month.

That poll, by Queen Mary University of London, will ask voters who they will support on May 7. The other main challengers to Mr Khan are Tory Shaun Bailey, Lib-Dem Siobhan Benita and Green Sian Berry.

Mr Khan enjoyed high net satisfaction scores for most of his first two years in office, peaking at +37 in July 2016, two months after his election, and +33 in June 2017. But he recorded a net negative rating for the first time in December last year, with 32 per cent satisfied and 33 per cent dissatisfied.

Since then, GLA polls have given him a net score of -4 in January, +1 and +7 in February and -1 in May, which showed Mr Khan to be most popular with younger Londoners, while those aged 50 and older were most dissatisfied.

Professor Tony Travers, of the London School of Economics, said: “His net satisfaction rate has fallen significantly since 2016 ... but it seems to have bottomed out — it’s stopped getting worse.

“I think the big question now is how far Rory Stewart, given he will have relatively high name recognition, can style himself as a sort of ‘Emmanuel Macron figure’ and stand above politics.

Sadiq Khan starts in quite a good position, in that the Labour Party remains in a strong position in London. It’s very much Sadiq Khan’s to lose.”

GLA polls are normally published three months after being completed. They only ask about the impact of the Mayor’s policies — not the popularity of his rivals or the reasons for satisfaction or dissatisfaction.

Critics have accused Mr Khan of taking his eye off the ball on the delayed Crossrail and failing to crack down on violent crime, although knife killings in London fell in the year to June.