London mayoral election: New map reveals voter apathy

17:21 20 March 2012

The London Elects heat map shows where voting was strongest and weakest in the 2008 mayoral election

The London Elects heat map shows where voting was strongest and weakest in the 2008 mayoral election

Archant

The starting pistol was fired today in the race for the most powerful political position in the UK outside Downing Street - Mayor of London.

A new infographic released by election organisers to mark the start of the campaigning shows which neighbourhoods turned out to vote in the last poll in 2008; and the wards in which apathy reigned.

The map by London Elects shows turnout in 2008 was strongest in mainly Conservative-voting suburbs on the outskirts of the city while Labour urban strongholds saw fewer people take part.

That hints the Boris doughnut of support for Tories around the outer fringe could be a factor in the 2012 election; a boon for Mayor Johnson as he seeks re-election.

Meanwhile, rivals Ken Livingstone and Brian Paddick will need to take a bite out of Johnsons base in order to get into City Hall. Mobilising the vote in urban constituencies where the map shows turnout is lowest will also be key for opponents bidding to unseat the Mayor.

However, officials from London Elects said that the voting patterns were not uniform.

Some of the highest turnouts in the 2008 poll were seen in the central London area of Hammersmith & Fulham, while the lowest was in Hounslow, on the outskirts of west London.

Also revealed by the London Elects map are glaring differences in turnout between wards located next door to each other.

The border demarking East Sheen in Richmond from Putney Heath in Wandsworth runs along a residential street where 29.5 per fewer voters marked their ballot paper than the 60.3 per cent who did in East Sheen, Richmond.

Elsewhere, apathy was highest in Cranford, Hounslow, where almost three quarters of voters stayed at home on polling day.

A pocket of political engagement is revealed in Longbridge in the borough of Barking and Dagenham, where more than 45 per cent of voters took part, compared to 30 surrounding wards where turnout was much lower.

Greater London returning officer John Bennett said: There are lots of things that affect turnout, from the age of voters, the levels of deprivation in an area or even the weather on polling day.

But our research shows that the picture isnt always what youd expect. Some of the most affluent wards in London only managed a turnout of 35 per cent, while some of the very poorest wards were beating the London average. And its a myth that low turnout is just an inner east London problem too. The lowest turnout was actually a ward in outer west London.

Our message is, wherever you live in London, its your vote and if you want to make sure your voice is heard, you need to get out and vote on May 3.

London Elects is taking a giant inflatable ballot box to all corners of the capital over the next seven weeks in a roadshow designed to boost turnout, and information on the elections is available at www.londonelects.org.uk

Click on the map below to download a full-size PDF version.

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