Maybe this is a reflection of Goldsmith’s campaigning
Back in July, just after TMay took over at Number 10, Populus carried out a big series of phone polls in constituencies most affected by the then proposed expansion of Heathrow. The data is in the chart above.
What is striking that in all but two of the seats polled there was net support for the expansion not opposition. Perhaps this is an indication of the huge contribution to the local economy of Britain’s leading airport. Tens of thousands of jobs are directly linked to Heathrow and people see this as a positive rather than the associated environmental issues.
There are just two exceptions: Twickenham and Richmond Park where the by-election takes place on December 1st. My guess, and I spent a large part of my life living in the area, is that in these two seats the level of Heathrow-linked employment is lowest.
But there’s also another explanation and that is Zac Goldsmith himself. The billionaire’s son and old Etonian has always had a high profile on Heathrow and maybe the polling is reflecting that.
What is perhaps surprising is that even in Richmond Park just 52% said they were opposed to the expansion. So Heathrow has resonance but maybe not quite as much as is assumed.