Conservative mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith is seen by London firms as being more pro-business than his Labour rival Sadiq Khan by a 26-point margin, according to a new poll seen exclusively by City A.M.
Nearly two-thirds of London businesses think Goldsmith is pro-business, while just under four in 10 say the same of Khan, according to the poll, conducted by ComRes for the London Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI).
But the poll is not necessarily bad news for Khan: ComRes found that the Labour candidate had made significant gains with firms in recent months, with a full 10 per cent more of businesses saying they saw Khan as pro-business in February, compared to the last time the poll was conducted, in November.
Goldsmith’s numbers, meanwhile, slipped slightly, with 68 per cent of firms saying he was pro-business in November, compared to 65 per cent in February.
Goldsmith is likely to benefit from business support for the Conservative party. When ComRes first polled firms in November, 76 per cent said Cameron’s Conservatives were pro-business, while just one in seven businesses said the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn is pro-business.
Khan, who has vowed to be the “most pro-business mayor London has ever had”, has struggled to distance himself from Corbyn in the mayoral contest.
Khan was one of 35 MPs who backed Corbyn’s nomination for Labour party leader last July.
Responding to the poll figures, a Khan spokesperson said: “Yesterday Sadiq laid out his manifesto plans to be the most pro-business mayor London has ever had. He continues to speak with London’s businesses every day about how he’ll support them to prosper and grow – whether it’s protecting valuable office space for business start-ups, improving digital infrastructure or talking about the vital importance of staying within the EU.”
An Opinium poll out earlier this week put Khan five points ahead of Goldsmith among adult voters. Khan is also set to net twice as many second preference votes as Goldsmith, putting him on track to win the run-off by a margin of 55-45, according to Opinium.