Huffpost UK Politics

London Mayoral Election Map Highlights Areas Of Low Turnout

Posted: Updated:
London's Mayoral Election Takes Place On The 3rd Of May
London's Mayoral Election Takes Place On The 3rd Of May

A map of voting turnout trends across the capital has been released as organisers warned of the danger of Londoners being "left behind", even in richer areas.

Ahead of the poll on May the 3rd, London Elects published the hotspot map showing figures for all 624 wards at the last London election in 2008.

The map shows that low turnout was an issue for all areas in London.

Fifteen wards in London registered a turnout of less than 30%. The wards with the lowest turnouts were Cranford in Hounslow with a 26.3% turnout, and Custom House in Newham with 26.4% turnout. Overall turnout was 45.3%.

Greater London Returning Officer John Bennett said: "At the last election, over half of eligible Londoners still didn't use their vote. And we've still got some way to go before we reach the levels of turnout we see in London at general elections.

"There are some areas that risk getting left behind. And not just in one or two areas, but within boroughs right across the capital."

He added: "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 isn't always what you'd expect.

"Some of the most affluent wards in London only managed a turnout of only 35%, while some of the very poorest wards were beating the London average. And it's a myth that low turnout is just an inner East London problem too. The lowest turnout was actually a ward in outer West London."

Political analyst Lewis Baston is a senior research fellow at research organisation Democratic Audit who thinks the election turnout is likely to be down since the last London elections.

He said: "In 2008 the election was a real contest. People turned up to vote because they thought it was a real contest. I think this election will also be close, if you look at the polls it is level-pegging but I think people feel that it matters less than in 2008.

"Then there was a sense among Tory supporters that they wanted to give Ken Livingstone a kicking. But now it is harder for them as the incumbent party, to get people motivated to vote. In 2008 Labour supporters were really worried about what London would be like if it was run by Boris Johnson. There is a general sense now that it hasn't been as bad as they thought. So it is less of a life and death-type struggle."

Mr Baston added that, despite the efforts of London Elects, turnout in certain areas may still be low due to having transient communities.

He said: "The electoral register is horrifyingly inaccurate, mostly because the population turnover is so great with a constant flow in and out of London. For instance the borough of Kensington and Chelsea often has a very low voter turnout despite it being an affluent area.

"So many people are there temporarily and move on that it is difficult to get them to vote. Those people don't feel part of local politics.

"It is the same for those who have recently arrived in the country or those from ethnic minorities. The turnout of people from the EU who live in London is also very low because often they are not really aware that they have the right to vote and they don't really feel they know the issues surrounding the elections. These groups of people need to go out and vote."

Around the Web

London Elects | Your London. Your vote.

The London mayoral election is now about personality rather than ...

BBC News - London mayoral candidates publish tax records

BBC News - London elections 2012: The issues

Boris Johnson versus Ken Livingstone: who has the killer punch?

Local elections: what's in store for the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems - and ...