Sadiq Khan on course for landslide victory over Zac Goldsmith
Sadiq Khan is set for a landslide victory over his Conservative rival Zac Goldsmith in the race to be London mayor, according to a new poll.
Khan, who began the new year with a pledge to freeze London transport fares, is now ten points clear of Goldsmith according to the YouGov poll for LBC.
Khan is on 45% compared to just 35% for Goldsmith, once undecided and non-voters have been excluded.
If borne out in May, it would be the largest victory for any candidate since the London mayoralty was set up and a major boost for the Labour party.
The poll finds the race for second preferences is much closer, with those who backed candidates other than Zac and Sadiq only narrowly favouring the Labour candidate.
However, it appears that Goldsmith, who has yet to announce a single major policy during his campaign, is failing to capture the imagination of Londoners.
The Conservative candidate this week lashed out at Khan for allegedly "playing the race card" against him. Goldsmith said that Khan, whose team had previously accused Goldsmith of releasing leaflets containing a "coded racist attack", was "playing with fire" by alleging racism where "clearly and unambiguously, it does not apply."
The row came after Goldsmith's team last week launched an investigation into one of their canvassers who was accused of referring to Khan as "the Muslim" on the doorstep.
Khan has also come under attack for his claims to be able to freeze fares without cutting investment in the transport system. His claim to be able to save money by shutting down the little-used East London cable car, fell apart after TfL released figures suggesting the service now actually makes a small surplus. Closing the cable car would also force TfL to incur heavy penalty costs for breaking their deal with the sponsors Emirates.
However, today's poll suggests Khan is well on course to winning the London mayoral election. A victory for Khan would be seen as a major boost for Labour after a difficult start to Corbyn's leadership.
Nonetheless, figures close to Corbyn remain cautious about their chances. Senior sources point out that the party has a poor record of winning London mayoral contests. Despite London voters generally leaning towards the party, Labour have only won one mayoral race out of the four that have been held.
Public annoyance over fare rises may also be boosting Khan's polling. A YouGov poll in January 2012 also howed Ken Livingstone with a small two point lead against then then Conservative candidate Boris Johnson, only for the Labour candidate to go on to lose.