The London Mayoral Election is currently scheduled to take place on 6 May 2021, having been postponed by a year due to the pandemic. The latest research by Redfield & Wilton Strategies finds that 64% of Londoners think the London Mayoral Election should take place as rescheduled on 6 May 2021 instead of being postponed again.
Across age groups, a majority of London respondents believe the election should be held on its currently scheduled date, but to varying extents: 72% of those aged 65 and over said the election should take place on 6 May 2021, compared to 52% of those aged 18 to 24.
Respondents who indicated they intend to vote for Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey—who is challenging incumbent Labour candidate Sadiq Khan—are more likely to think the election should not be postponed again (70%) when compared to likely Khan voters (63%).
Among the 36% of respondents who said the election should be postponed again, a majority (58%) thinks it should be postponed by two or three months, whereas 22% said it should be postponed by six months. These timelines align with the expected completion of the first round of the UK’s vaccination programme (all adults are currently expected to receive a first jab by late July), suggesting that those who support postponing the election are expressing this view because they think it would be preferable to wait a few more months and vaccinate everyone prior to holding the election, having already waited a year.
At the moment, many coronavirus restrictions are expected to be lifted by 6 May. In the event that the current lockdown is extended further (i.e. shops and hospitality would remain closed on the day of the election), nearly half of those who initially oppose postponing the election think the election should be postponed. As such, the public appears readily willing to favour an additional postponement if the coronavirus situation in the United Kingdom does not improve as expected over the next month and the lockdown is extended.
The logistics of voting in the 2021 Mayoral Election are evidently complicated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, though voting by post and proxy are available options. Still, a majority (56%) of Londoners who say they will vote plan to do so in-person, a figure that is substantially higher than respondents who said they are most likely to vote by post (36%) or proxy (8%).
The option to vote by post was selected as the most likely means of voting by comparable proportions of all age groups. Further, similar proportions of respondents who intend to vote for Sadiq Khan (35%) and for Shaun Bailey (37%) said they are most likely to vote by post, suggesting there will not be a significant difference in the results of in-person versus postal votes.
When asked to what extent they will feel comfortable voting in-person on 6 May 2021, considering the coronavirus situation in London, a majority (55%) say they would feel very comfortable, comfortable, or at least slightly more comfortable than uncomfortable voting in person.
After waiting a year to cast their vote in the Mayoral Election, most Londoners believe the election should take place as currently scheduled on 6 May 2021. An extension of the current lockdown order may change this view among some, but over half of respondents still believe the election should not be further postponed even if the current lockdown was extended.