Sensible people offer notes of caution on why the polls’ predictions may not come true and Team Sadiq are wisely taking nothing for granted, but the most probable outcome does seem to be a Khan victory.
One of the reasons people are sceptical of the polls is a widespread belief that their projected guaranteed turnout of 50-59% will ultimately dwarf the number of people who actually bother to vote.
In 2012 actual turnout was 38.1% while in 2008 it was 45.33%, 36.95% in 2004 and 34.43% in 2000.
For the polls’ turnout figures to be accurate people would need to have started caring far more about City Hall than they did just 4 years ago and there’s little reason, beyond wishful thinking by those who long for more voter participation, to assume they have.
Polls overstating turnout is pretty common and so many, understandably, dismiss such concerns out of hand. But these two heat maps show just how widely turnout varied in the previous two mayoral elections:
A result predicted on a projected turnout which is more than double actual turnout in some areas cannot and should not be seen as an unassailable truth.
But if the polls are right, next Friday will see Sadiq become London’s third directly elected mayor and, in an instant, one of Labour’s most important figures.
Like Boris in 2008, he’d enjoy free reign over a £14bn annual budget which he could use to implement policy and turn his values into action while former colleagues in Parliament endured the boredoms and frustrations of opposition.
To secure that prize he’d have overcome a better known internal rival, faced down a well resourced, tough-fighting opponent with the full machinery of Government behind him, and sidestepped the endless rows which the Labour party keeps ensnaring itself in.
London may well be a Labour city by numbers but, as Ken’s defeats proved, Londoners don’t just vote for the rosette, they need to be convinced by the man. A win next week would be very much Sadiq’s personal victory.