Saturday, December 06, 2008

Greater Manchester Future: Turn Out Just Over 30% So Far

David Ottewell has produced a canny graph of Transport Vote turnouts following disappointment from the chief returning officer. Ranging from 23.2% in Manchester to 37.3% in Tameside. With a week to go in effect. Because Manchester and Salford are the biggest electorates in this exercise the overall turnout so far is rather lower than the average of these ten bars. Comments (5) at the time when I began writing this post were mostly from foaming-at-the-mouth NO voters, with just the one more sensible NO voter in the shape of blogging Cllr Iain Lindley. Iain points out that we're already getting towards local government election turnouts in this part of the world:

I don't have time to trawl through all the figures at the moment, but I suspect that those figures already broadly reflect the turnout at the last set of local elections. Salford's local election turnout in 2008 was 31.3% across the City.
Of course what those figures [i]don't[/i] show is the voting differentials [i]within[/i] each borough. In Salford the local election turnouts ranged from 42.1% in Worsley and 40.3% in my ward of Walkden South to 23.4% in Ordsall and just 20.6% in Irwell Riverside ward.
Boothstown & Ellenbrook, Cadishead, Claremont, Eccles and Irlam all turned out above 35%. Of the old Salford CB wards only Claremont and Kersal broke 30%.
If this pattern is repeated in the referendum then it is likely to be bad news for the YES campaign. We will, of course, never know the figures broken down by ward or by area.

On the other hand, in reference to this last remark, if we buy the argument that there will be more committed curmudgeons voting NO early there is some reassurance for the YES side that it's still all to play for.

For the uninitiated the requirement for the referendum to be binding on all ten authorities is for an overall YES vote AND also YES votes in at least seven of those authorities.

The massive muppetry of the other six commenters at the time of beginning this post was particularly demonstrated by 1. Sean of the Dead Cocker who famously poo poohed health chief figures for the life saving potential of reduced traffic and 2. Cllr Muppet O'Neill of Salford. Both these utterly stupid comments appear to have been removed. Presumably the word came down from Andrew Simpson in his bunker somewhere? Trying to call the shots without further reputational damage for Peel holdings and The Trafford Centre.

Sean of the Dead Corker: Suggested that the low turnout was because the vote was "So near Christmas".

What is he on about? A low vote is extraordinarily unlikely to favour the YES campaign as whatever the issue research shows that NO wingnuts are more exercised and far more likely to express themselves than those who are more relaxed about the issue.

So why would the YES people contrive to have a ballot near Christmas if that was going to hurt turn out?

Cllr Muppet O'Neill: States that the whole thing "is a shambles" but seems unable to offer any arguments to go with his assertions.

Does anyone know the one about the newly elected councillor from Salford? Who was refused a personal one-to-one audience with Howard Bernstein who for some reason did not fancy 650 meetings with Greater Manchester councillors? That was Martin O'Muppet too.

Muppet O'Neill is son of Joe O'Neill who stood and was beaten for the Salford Lib Dem Group leadership.

The pair of them are outcasts, out of step with Libdemology nationally and locally, even accused of being closet Tories.

CORRECTIONS: 1. As Cllr Iain Lindley points out in comments Salford has drifted down to mid-table in terms of electorate size. Though barring Stockport the top five are in the 20s while the smaller five MBCs are in the 30s.
2. The muppety comments have not been removed, they are on an earlier post here.

CALCULATION 23:29: LOL calculations show that the overall turn out at the time of this report appears to be 30.32% or thereabouts.


Iain Lindley said...

Whilst your statistical point is a correct one (turnout in the larger boroughs is, with the exception of Stockport, lowest) alas Salford is only the fifth largest electorate:

Manchester 340730
Wigan 235043
Stockport 216973
Bolton 199819
Salford 164982
Tameside 164062
Trafford 163677
Oldham 159328
Rochdale 155830
Bury 140441

(Source: TIF Returning Officer)

Chris Paul said...

Thanks Iain

And that's just one of two whoopsies in this post. Correction in a moment.

Am I right in thinking that is quite a drop in Salford electorate? Wasn't it 200,000 plus only a couple of years ago?

All wetbacking across the Ship Canal from Cadishead to Partington no doubt?

Best w

Chris P

Anonymous said...

Has Cocker changed his name?

Iain Lindley said...

Salford City Council electorates 1998-2008, local election years only. I've tallied up the ward electorates from the election results which should be accurate. I can't do the same for the GE years of 2001 and 2005 as the current Worsley constituency is cross-border.

1998: 166761
1999: 165182
2000: 163169
2002: 160187
2003: 158373
2004: 158946
2006: 156749
2007: 163285
2008: 165253
2008/TIF: 164982

So Salford's electorate is pretty similar to where it was a decade ago. Registered electors of course isn't always a perfect representation of population of course, for many reasons.

Nonetheless, some large fluctuations in the last decade. Some are anomalous, for example the large jump between 2006 and 2007 is partly explained by the University of Salford's decision to bulk-register students living in halls (which hadn't happened previously), although I'd suggest this amounts to 1500-2000 of a 6000 elector gain. The other major growth area is Salford Quays which is in Ordsall ward, although only 2 wards (Broughton at -253 and Swinton South at -17) had a smaller electorate in 2008 than in 2004.

Historically Salford (or at least, the area now covered by SCC) had a population to support an electorate of 200000 but that hasn't been the case for decades.

Iain Lindley said...

Incidentally Chris, as you mentioned Cadishead, the combined electorate for Irlam & Cadishead wards* between 1998 and 2008 is as follows:

1998: 13771
1999: 13781
2000: 13833

2002: 13849
2003: 13702
2004: 13758

2006: 14146
2007: 14593
2008: 14602

So remarkably stable actually with a significant increase post-2004 which I assume is largely from the new developments off Fairhills Road and by Irlam Locks (which whilst in Irlam town are actually in Cadishead ward. The build at Pasturegreen Way in Higher Irlam is a little older I think.

*the boundary between the two wards shifted slightly in 2004, but taken together they cover the same area.

benchilltory said...

it's a shame that the turnout for a postal vote is so low.
I suspect that more people from greater manchester have voted in the x factor and SCD than in this.
I suspect when all polictical parties concentrate on swing seats and narrow interest, the rest of the population become excluded from the process.
Pity that political parties all seem to want to manage better or be seen as better administraters,following popular opinion rather than leading it,doing nothing that hasnt got the approval of a focus group.
loony tunes and extremist may well flourish in this period low level of interest especially with the mother and father of all recessions on the way.
i have voted no myself on the basis that the proposed improvements being offered are so piss poor not much of a return for paying £1200 per year extra tax

Chris Paul said...

Thanks both. I'm surprised at the rather low estimate on students Iain. It's c 4,000 in c 8 halls (i.e. without the letting of commercial flats to students which is rife) in Mcr City Centre ward alone. They took similar choice for Euros/All-outs all postals in 2004.

Those Cadishead/Irlam numbers are still pretty low considering the BCE norm of 10,000 in Manchester at least.

Benchilltory: Are you really going to be paying £1200 a year? I do a lot of work in M22/M23 - including recently on Travel - I have yet to find anyone set to pay £1 let alone £5 a day. Genuinely, please explain what if anything you would have to pay ... from 2013 and only if PT is sorted ... and in what ways you are unable to avoid or reduce that cost.

Chris Paul said...

No answer BHT? Your point about lack of leadership seems remarkable given the risk and leadership being shown on this particular matter. It would be more populist (vide Stringer vide Tory curmudgeons) to oppose progress.

Iain Lindley said...

Chris, obviously the total number of students is much much higher. The 1500-2000 is an estimate of how many additional students were registered because of the change in University policy, based on changes at a ward level. The student halls are in Irwell Riverside ward, which gained around 1200 electors between 2006 and 2007, and Langworthy ward which gained around 700 electors. Some students would have been registered anyway, some international students may still not get registered, and of course students in private accomodation need to register themselves anyway.

As for the Irlam & Cadishead figures, the BCE norm for Salford is just over 8000 electors which is not unusual for a metropolitan City Council. The geographic location of Irlam & Cadishead has left the wards there undersized for longer than I can remember, although recent development has pushed both wards comfortably over 7000 electors.

Incidentally the disparity between the ward electorates prior to 2004 is truly comical.

The electorates in Blackfriars, Broughton, Langworthy and Ordsall (all safe Labour inner-city wards) were 5681, 5474, 5062 and 4864, whereas the number of voters in Worsley & Boothstown ward was 11122 and Walkden South had reached a colossal 11965 electors.