Vote shares in the Liverpool mayoral election (2): Liam Fogarty and Richard Kemp
In a previous post, I looked at the spread of support for Joe Anderson in Liverpool's mayoral election across the city's 30 electoral wards. In this post, I examine the geographical distribution of support for the candidates who, respectively, came second and third in the mayoral contest: Liam Fogarty (Independent) and Richard Kemp (Liberal Democrat).
For Liam Fogarty to finish in second place in the mayoral election was a remarkable achievement for an independent candidate. While Fogarty's 8.4% share of the vote across the city as a whole was a full 50 percentage points behind that achieved by Joe Anderson, he secured just short of 8,300 votes, more than the Conservative and UKIP candidates combined.
Fogarty's manifesto for the mayoral election was among the most innovative and he was, without doubt, the most skilled communicator among the 12 candidates. Yet, it was always likely that Fogarty's campaign would find most resonance among professional middle class voters.The graph below shows that he achieved far higher levels of support in more affluent wards in the south end of Liverpool. In Mossley Hill, Fogarty took an impressive 17% of the votes, 15% in Woolton and 14% in Childwall.
However, Fogarty was unable to replicate these levels of support in other areas of the city. In most of the wards making up the north end of Liverpool, his vote shares were in the region of 2-5%. Nonetheless, in an election so dominated by a single candidate (Labour's Joe Anderson), it should be underlined that Fogarty was one of only three candidates to secure at least 2% of the votes in all 30 wards.
Comparing the distribution of Fogarty's votes and the geography of support for the Liberal Democrat candidate, Richard Kemp, is particularly telling. Like Fogarty, Kemp's support was concentrated in the south end of the city. In Church ward, where he is a long-standing councillor, he took 31% of the votes and in Wavertree, Cressington, Woolton and Childwall he secured 10% or more. However, Kemp's share of the votes in the more disadvantaged wards in the north of Liverpool was very low (only 1% in Kirkdale, Everton, Norris Green and Tuebrook).
Perhaps the most significant thing about the above graph is that it suggests that the Liberal Democrats no longer have any semblance of electoral appeal across the city as a whole. Until a few years ago, Liverpool was the Liberal Democrats' flagship local council, but now they face being wiped off the local political map almost completely. Indeed, recent council elections underline that Liverpool's Liberal Democrats are likely to struggle to maintain seats anywhere other than Church ward.
These figures therefore raise important questions about where effective political opposition will come from during Joe Anderson's four-year term as mayor of Liverpool. In my next post, I'll take a look at which party seems best placed to fill the void being created by the rapid decline of the Liberal Democrats in the city. The conclusion may well come as a surprise to many.