I love playing with a spreadsheet of numbers, so I was thrilled to find one containing a ward-by-ward breakdown of the votes cast in the 2008 London Mayoral elections on the Greater London Authority website. It’s fascinating to browse through and compare the votes in different areas, but the most striking pattern to me was the comparative influence of candidate party and personality on voting, which I’ve plotted on the three Greenwich ward maps included in this post.
On the election day voters filled in three ballot papers: one for London Mayor, one for a party or individual for the London-wide London Assembly member and one for a named individual for the Greenwich and Lewisham Constituency London Assembly Member. And as the three ward maps show, voters voted for different parties in the three different polls.
The map at the top shows which wards voted for Boris (blue, of course) and Ken (Red) – and it shows a North-South divide, with the Shooters Hill ward on the boundary and favouring Blue Boris. The second map, below, shows the votes for Labour and Conservative London-wide AMs, and a couple of wards have turned Red, including Shooters Hill but also Eltham West. The bottom ward map shows the results for the Constituency AM – Len Duval (Lab) vs Andy Jennings (Con) and Kidbrooke with Hornfair has supported Woolwich-born Len, turning from blue to red. The three maps demonstrate really well, I think, that voters don’t all just blindly vote for a particular political party, but the individual standing for election can make a big difference.
I’ve summarised the Shooters Hill ward percentages across the three ballots in the table below, and also included the 2010 local council results. The turnout for the 2008 Mayoral elections was 47% in Shooters Hill compared to 67.7% in the 2010 local council election. A higher turnout clearly favours the Labour Party.
|Mayor: Ken Livingstone vs Boris Johnson
|London-wide Assembly Member
|Constituency: Len Duval vs Andy Jennings
How did the other candidates fare in Shooters Hill ward? Well Brian Paddick came third in the Mayoral elections, and also got the most second preference votes at a shade over 30%. The LibDems’ Brian Robson came third in the Constituency AM ballot, but appallingly the LibDems were pushed into fourth place in the London-wide AM vote by the BNP. The Greens were 5th in all three ballots, with 8.24% in the London-wide AM their highest percentage.
This year’s elections take place on 3rd May; Raven on the London Masala and Chips blog has posted a clear and succcinct guide what we will need to do with the three ballot papers. One thing to remember is that we only need to indicate our first and second preferences on the Mayoral ballot paper. One of the largest reasons for spoilt papers in 2008 was giving more than two preferences. The London Elects website also has lots of information about the forthcoming election, and I’ve included a copy of their poster below.
There is still time to register to vote in the Mayoral and London Assembly election; the deadline for registration is 18th April. Full details and a handy form to register can be found on the About my vote website and also on the Greenwich Council web site.
PS Psephology – the study of elections – is derived from the Greek psephos, pebble because the Greeks used pebbles for voting.