Using data to make predictions for the 2012 London Mayoral election
FactMint has recently done work for both London Elects (who run the Mayoral Elections) and the Guardian’s Data Blog. Both projects were based around the upcoming Mayoral Election, and we’ve gathered some really interesting data on the subject. So, independently from those two parties, I’ve decided to do a little data-analytics myself and see if there are any predications to be made.
Firstly, from the visualizations we created with the Guardian it became very clear that 2nd preference vote in the Mayoral Election has almost no effect on the outcome of the poll. You can compare the heat-maps of the 1st and 2nd preference votes on the Guardian’s Data Blog, here. To prove this point consider that Boris, who won the election, did not get the most 2nd preference votes in any one of London’s 624 wards.
So – focusing on the 1st preference votes, as by far the most influential – let’s look at the tendencies of wards to vote a particular way based upon their extent of deprivation (as that scale considers a number of environmental criteria, such as wealth, crime and employment). The following graphic – which the FactMint Researcher produced – plots a point for the share of votes each ward casts for each party, against that ward’s extent of deprivation, from the 2008 Mayoral election.
There are some clear patterns which come from this visualization:
Firstly, at the low end of the scale (the wards which do not suffer from deprivation) Labour were the least popular party, the Lib Dems occupying a slightly less popular area with the Conservatives the clear favourites.
At the other end of the scale there is a very distinct flip between the Labour candidate’s popularity and that of his Conservative counterpart. Amongst very deprived areas the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties were both unpopular and Labour were much more popular.
The pattern seems very strong, particularly with the Labour and Conservative parties, so it is reasonable to assume some causality here. Making the leap-of-faith that voting one way or the other will not notably affect how deprived you are (at least not relative to the rest of the population), we can postulate that the more deprived have a disposition towards Labour and the less deprived towards the Conservatives.
We can also see, by scanning along the right of the scatter graph, that the Lib Dems were not the favoured party in any of the Wards.
So, if we are to use this data to predict the outcome of this year’s election, we need to understand how the extent of deprivation has changed over the past four years in London. The Guardian posted an article on this very subject (here). The headline figures from that article are that 430 of London’s neighbourhoods have become “significantly more deprived” while only 374 have become “significantly less deprived”, since 2004. If the trend is towards deprivation – as we might guess in the current economic climate – then this years votes should lean towards Labour more than they did in 2008. So it looks like it could be a close one…
That said, it’s politics and anything can happen! Looking forward to the post-mortem.
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- Doing a bit of research into people's intuition when categorizing things. would love it if you took 3 min to take part. http://t.co/QH46ShQG #, 2012/09/06
- Hey @markking1974! @emily_church told us she talk to you about our project. Would love show... It's all about making the #SemWeb accessible. #, 2012/05/11
- Following the excitement of the @Guardian viz we launched today, I thought I'd have a go at some data analytics myself: http://t.co/rf4oXKxX #, 2012/04/12
- The debate is still raging in the comments around our viz for the @guardian. http://t.co/DU1CSORG #datajournalism #semweb #opendata #, 2012/04/12