London mayoral election: it doesn't get closer than this

Freddie SayersEditor-in-Chief of YouGov
October 09, 2015, 1:55 PM GMT+0

Sadiq Khan and Zac Goldsmith are neck and neck on who would make the best Mayor of London – and even on their personalities

There’s just over six months to go to London’s mayoral election, and there’s everything to play for. Up until now, the expectation has been that this one is Labour’s to lose. Despite disasters elsewhere in the country, Labour actually increased their share of the vote in London at the recent general election and the loss of Boris Johnson as the Tory candidate means the loss of one of the only popular politicians in the country. Throughout the summer, in YouGov match ups between Zac Goldsmith and Tessa Jowell, the former Olympics minister and presumed favourite for the Labour nomination has been healthily ahead.

Suddenly, with the surprise selection of Sadiq Khan by Labour (after being endorsed by Jeremy Corbyn), all bets are off. It is rare to see an absolute dead heat in polling, but as of today, neither candidate is ahead. Asked which candidate would make the better mayor, 28% of Londoners choose Goldsmith, 29% of Londoners choose Khan and a whopping 44% say they are not sure. That’s a lot of votes for both candidates to woo, and six months is not a lot of time to do it.

What’s remarkable is just how evenly matched the two men are, right down to the different aspects of their personality. Likeable? Its 41%/41%. Good in a crisis? 26%/27%. Up to the job of Mayor? 38%/39%. There’s only one area where you start to see a major difference – whether the two men are ‘in touch with ordinary people’. 41% think Mr Khan is, compared to only 18% for Zac Goldsmith. His multi-millionaire status is one weak point for the Tory, and you can expect his rival to make a lot of noise about it.

See the full poll results

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