A simple comparison of the results of the Liverpool mayoral and city council elections
Appended below are two pie charts. The first shows the share of the vote obtained by the candidates in Liverpool's 2012 mayoral election. The second shows the share of the vote gained by the political parties across Liverpool in the city council elections which took place on the same day.
The charts provide us with a very basic sense of the extent to which those who turned out in the election opted to 'split' their votes, that is cast a ballot for one party in the mayoral election but for a different one in the election for who should represent their council ward.
There are many reasons why voters may split their votes in this way. The most obvious reason for voting differently in the two elections is that some people may simply vote on the basis of who they feel is the best candidate, for mayor of the city and to serve as the councillor for their ward respectively, rather than on the basis of party loyalty.
Where two elections take place simultaneously with different electoral systems, some voters may also opt to change one of their usual preferences. Since the mayoral election allowed people to express a second preference, voters may opt for a small party as their first choice, but still vote for their favoured of the larger parties as the second preference.
Allied to this, anyone who voted for Liam Fogarty in the mayoral election could not cast a ballot for his 'party' in the council election, since he stood as an Independent. Similarly, many of those who voted for Tony Mulhearn as mayor would have been unable to opt for a Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate in their council ward, as the TUSC only contested 10 out of 30 wards.
Finally, people may split their vote for tactical reasons. For example, they might not vote for the candidate they most favour, in either the mayoral or council election, largely because they feel that candidate has so little chance of winning. Rather than 'wasting' their vote, they may thus be tempted to vote for a slightly less favoured candidate who they feel has a better chance of defeating the candidate they would least like to see elected.
Click on the image to see a larger version of it.
Overall, the division of the votes in Liverpool's mayoral election was not terribly different to the way the votes were shared in the city council election. The two pie charts are relatively similar.
What is most apparent is that two of the mayoral candidates, Liam Fogarty and Tony Mulhearn, appeared to 'take' votes away from those standing for the political parties represented on Liverpool City Council.
Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and the Liberals all took a smaller share of the vote in the mayoral election than they did in the city council elections. The difference was most obvious with regard to the Liberal Democrats, where Richard Kemp's share of the vote in the mayoral contest (6.3%) was less than half that obtained collectively by his party's candidates for the council elections (13.2%).
Given that there was no surge in the Liberal, Conservative or Green vote in the mayoral contest, it seems highly likely that Liam Fogarty won a big chunk of his support from people who would normally count themselves as Liberal Democrat supporters.
In view of the scale of their victory in both contests, Labour will hardly mind the 6 percentage point gap between their respective shares of the mayoral and city council votes. But the party may wish to ponder who gained those votes in the mayoral contest. The most likely scenario is that many of these 'lost' votes went to Tony Mulhearn, although Liam Fogarty is also likely to have won over some who would have otherwise voted Labour.
The final observation to make is that those labelled here as 'others' achieved a higher collective share of the vote in the mayoral election than they did in the city council election. This is simply explained by the sheer number of 'other' mayoral candidates and the fact that each of their respective parties only stood candidates in a handful of city council wards. It is likely that these 'other' candidates took a very small portion of votes from all of the major parties, although none of the latter will be losing much sleep over it.