Betting on politics: the race for London mayor

Sadiq Khan © Getty
Sadiq Khan: Londoners like him

It’s 15 months before the next London mayoral election, due to be held in May 2020, and already both the bookies and the betting exchanges are starting to offer some markets on the poll.

The current mayor, Sadiq Khan, is, unsurprisingly, the favourite to win re-election. Paddy Power is offering odds of 3/10 (76.9%) on him. It is also offering 7/2 on Conservative Shaun Bailey (22.2%) and 50/1 (1.9%) on Sian Berry, the Green Party candidate.

Although Sadiq Khan has come under fire for the rise in knife crime, he is generally popular with Londoners. A December YouGov poll suggests that, on balance, he has a positive approval rating. The same poll suggested he would easily win in the first round, with 55% of the vote, and has a commanding 24 percentage point lead over Shaun Bailey on second preferences. Boris Johnson’s two terms in office show that it is possible for a Conservative to win in London, but the fact that Labour got 55% of the London vote in the 2017 general election shows that the Conservatives face an uphill climb.

Indeed, there seems little in the way of a Sadiq Khan win unless he decides not to run for mayor again. In that case, one of his deputies, such as Heidi Alexander (20/1), would be the favourite. But if Khan wanted to move back to Westminster politics, it would be very difficult for him to find a seat, so I think he will run. I’m going to suggest that you just take Paddy Power’s offer on him being re-elected mayor at 3/10.