Most Londoners have never heard of 14 of the 20 candidates for Mayor

Eir NolsoeData Journalist
April 30, 2021, 11:22 AM GMT+0

Most Londoners know little about mayoral candidates, apart from Sadiq Khan and Shaun Bailey

Citizens of the capital will be heading to the ballot boxes on 6 May – a year later than planned - to decide who they want to be Mayor of London. Whoever they choose will manage a budget of nearly £20 billion and receive powers over policing, transport and regeneration.

But YouGov data shows that apart from the main contenders, Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan and Conservative opponent Shaun Bailey, the names on the list will mean little to nothing to many voters.

Two thirds of Londoners (65%) say they have a good idea of who Khan is and what he stands for, while another fifth (20%) vaguely know. About half as many – a third (33%) – feel they know much about Bailey, and a quarter (24%) have some idea of his values and agenda.

Actor turned anti-lockdown campaigner, Laurence Fox, is the third best known candidate, with a third of Londoners either having a good (16%) or vague (18%) idea of who he is and what he stands for. Half of the capital’s citizens however say they don’t know what he stands for (18%) or have never heard of him (31%).

The Green Party’s Sian Berry polls similarly to Fox in terms of visibility, with one in seven Londoners feeling well informed about her and her policies, while a fifth have some idea of her agenda.

Some 9% of capital dwellers say they’re well aware of Piers Corbyn – brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – ­­and his values, while a fifth (19%) vaguely do. It could be, however, that some Londoners are mixing up the candidate with his more famous sibling, or are making assumptions on Piers’s values based on their status as relatives.

Apart from Count Binface, who is campaigning for issues like renaming London Bridge after Phoebe Waller-Bridge and capping the cost of croissants at £1, a majority of Londoners say they’ve never heard of the other 14 candidates. These include UKIP candidate Peter Gammons, unknown to 55% of potential voters and YouTuber Niko Omilana who two thirds of Londoners (66%) are unfamiliar with.

Some 56% of Londoners have also not heard of candidate Brian Rose, who has spread COVID-19 misinformation on his YouTube channel and who recently made headlines after videos emerged of him drinking his own urine.

But does it matter? Londoners are split on how much who is mayor impacts them

Around half of people in the capital believe who is mayor of London has a very (13%) or fairly (40%) big effect on their live. A third say the impact on them is fairly (25%) or very (7%) small, while a small minority of 8% say it makes no difference to their life at all.

In comparison, two thirds say who is prime minister has a large impact on them, including three in ten (29%) who say it’s very big – twice as many as when asked about the mayor of London.

Around one in four Londoners (23%) believe who is prime minister has a small impact on their life, including 5% who say it’s very limited. One in twenty (5%) say it doesn’t affect them at all.

See the full results here