Left turn – the election shows further shift in the way the capital votes

look left-2The election of Sadiq Khan as Mayor of London proved some general truths about the way London votes but also suggests that as the city grows it will lean more to the left.

On the political map of Britain, London has long been an island of Labour red in a South East sea of Conservative blue.  London has traditionally been Labour at its centre and Tory on its fringes.

The mayoral elections underlined that pattern, with some significant additional wins for Sadiq Khan in previously Conservative ground of Merton and Wandsworth, and Ealing and Hillingdon.

The other significant change is the increase in Labour support in the central areas that have seen the fastest population rise.  The constituency of City and East is a good example.  It contains Tower Hamlets and Newham, the boroughs forecast to grow fastest in the coming decade. In these areas Sadiq Khan achieved 60% of first preference votes and the greater population and high turnout delivered nearly 20,000 more Labour voters than in 2012.

It was a similar story in the North East constituency which covers Islington, Hackney and Waltham Forest. Khan again achieved a 60% share and added 36,000 votes on 2012.

Zac Goldsmiths best performance was in the Bexley and Bromley.  He out-polled Sadiq Khan here by two votes to one, but his number of votes was down on Boris Johnson’s haul in 2012 and his share was 51% compared to 62% for the Conservatives four years ago.

In Havering and Redbridge, and his home South West constituency, which includes Richmond, Hounslow and Kingston, he increased the number of votes, but not in Croydon and Sutton or the West Central constituency covering Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith and Fulham.

In all 5 areas won by the Goldsmith, the Conservative share of the vote was down on 2012.  This might be attributed to the success of Boris Johnson as a larger-than-life character who worked across traditional party loyalties. Many, including leading Conservatives, have criticised the Goldsmith campaign, with its attacks on Khan, as negative and off putting for voters.

But the voting patterns indicate something more than personality politics and suggest an underlying sentiment.  A breakdown of all first preference votes into blocks representing broad party positions shows that parties of the left out-performed the parties of the right.

London's political balance-2

And the second preference votes also tell a story.  In the final run off Khan and Goldsmith were awarded the second preference votes of all the other candidates. Khan won convincingly here.  But we can also see from the data how the second preferences of Khan and Goldsmith voters would have been deployed if either had not made the final round. A quarter of Goldsmith voters marked Khan as their second preference.  Only 14% of Khan voters put a second cross next to Goldsmith. The main beneficiary of second votes were the Greens, who sit on the left.

After two terms of a Tory mayor the capital has a Labour politician as leader again.  The city population is forecast to be over 9 million by the time he is up for re-election.  The evidence from this election is that a growing number of people is central London is good news for Labour and Sadiq Khan.

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See also

How London’s population boom helped Sadiq Khan to victory

Election Issues: Balancing economic success with green ambitions

A last verdict on Boris shows satisfaction at its lowest ever level

Neck and neck in the race to replace Boris

Labour’s Sadiq Khan and the Conservative’s Zac Goldsmith are running neck and neck in the race to be London Mayor, according to polling organisation You Gov.

A survey of a little over 1,000 Londoners gave Khan 29% of the support to Goldsmith’s 28%. But with 44% saying they were not sure who would make the best Mayor it is all to play for in the race to replace Boris. When the don’t knows are factored out it is 51/49 in Khan’s favour.

Looking at the detailed breakdown, Sadiq Khan gets a more favourable response from women. Zac Goldsmith has more support among older voters.

With a margin or error of 3 points it is hard to separate Khan and Goldsmith in a number of the survey responses. They score closely on who would be best in a crisis and votes appear to find them equally likeable.

It is only when it comes to who is most in touch with ordinary people that there is some clear air between the candidate. Here Khan, the MP for Tooting and the son of a bus driver scores much better than Goldsmith, the MP for Richmond Park and son of a multi-millionaire.

The current Mayor, the Conservative Boris Johnson, has retained his popularity according to the GLA’s own polling, as reported here. But whether this legacy will rub off on Zac Goldsmith, also a bit of an outsider on a number of issues in the Conservative camp, will be key in the city which remained a Labour stronghold during the election in May.

The poll by YouGov, on behalf of the Evening Standard, is the first to be carried out since both the  candidates for the larger parties were confirmed. There are 6 others in the field including the Lib Dem Caroline Pidgeon, the Greens’ Sian Berry, Peter Whittle for UKIP, and 3 others. The election is on 5th May next year.

Poll data

See also

As Boris enter his final months, how happy have we been with the Mayor?

Lib Dem’s London collapse a consolation prize for Labour

Photo Zac Goldsmith, courtesy Policy Exchange

Photo Sadiq Khan, courtesy National Archive

 

 

 

 

Lib Dem’s London collapse a consolation prize for Labour

Voters in London © Slawekkozaks | Dreamstime.com

Voters in London © Slawekkozaks | Dreamstime.com

As the Labour Party picks over the disaster of election night London offers some small consolation.   Labour bucked the national trend in the capital to increase its MPs by 7, taking 45 of the 73 seats.  Those gains came largely at the expense of the Liberal Democrats as Labour not the Conservatives became beneficiaries of the Lib Dem collapse.

Labour’s success and the calamity for the Lib Dems is underlined in the voting share.  Labour’s share was up by 24%, the Lib Dems share plummeted by 64%. Ukip quadrupled their vote and the Greens doubled theirs from last time.  The Conservatives had a modest increase in votes but were down by one seat at the end of the night.

 

Voting share 2015

3.5 million people turned out to vote.  That’s up by 100,000 on 2010 and is a 65.6% turnout, a little below the national figure. The way votes were cast across the capital gives an insight into the politics of the city, more complex than the simple, first past the post constituency results. If seats were decided by a simple proportion of the share of the vote London MPs would look a lot different

 

General Election seats and shareVoting shares within constituencies give an insight into the spread of polical support in the city. The most fervent Labour supporting place is East Ham, where Stephen Timms romped home with 77% of the vote and the largest majority of any London MP.  The most Conservative constituency is Richmond Park where 34,404 people voted to re-elect Zac Goldsmith.

Ukip support is strongest in Hornchurch and Upminster, where Lawrence Webb got 13,977 votes and one of the party’s many second places.  Ukip also polled strongly in Barking, and Dagenham and Rainham.

Highest turnout in the capital was 77% in Twickenham where the senior Liberal Democrat Cabinet minister, Vince Cable, lost the seat he had held for 18 years. Lowest turnout was 54% in Ilford South.

The spread of voting patterns meant tight battles in many constituencies.  None tighter than Croydon Central where Conservative Gavin Barwell squeaked in with a majority of 165.

The capital also showed an enthusiasm for political diversity.  499 candidates put themselves up for election. Voters in Bethnal Green and Bow, Camberwell and Peckham, and Hackney South and Shoreditch had 11 candidates to choose from.  In Uxbridge and South Ruislip there was a choice of 13, among them London’s least successful candidate, Independent James Jackson who got just 14 votes.

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