London elections: People in suburbs 'more likely to vote'

A map has shown people in the suburbs of London are more likely to turn out and vote than those in the inner city.

The heat map from London Elects, which organises the poll, has been published as the campaign for London mayor officially got under way.

But it said some of the highest turnouts in 2008 were in the central area of Hammersmith & Fulham and the lowest in the suburb of Hounslow.

The mayoral and London Assembly elections take place on 3 May.

Among the candidates challenging current incumbent Tory Boris Johnson for his seat in City Hall are Labour's Ken Livingstone, who served as mayor from 2000 to 2008.

'Doughnut' effect

Brian Paddick, who also stood in 2008, is representing the Liberal Democrats again and Jenny Jones will be the Green Party candidate.

Some 5.8 million people are eligible to vote but in 2008 fewer than half of them bothered to go to the polling station, with an average turnout of 45.3% across the capital.

London Elects' map of voting levels across all 624 of the capital's wards in 2008 showed bands of high turnout in the suburban fringes of north and south London, with 57.9% of eligible voters going to the polls in Sutton, 54.9% in Richmond, 51.8% in Bromley, 48.9% in Merton and 48.2% in Barnet and Kingston.

The "doughnut" effect may be thought to favour Mr Johnson, whose hopes for re-election would be boosted by high turnout in traditionally Conservative boroughs such as Bromley, Richmond and Sutton.

Inflatable ballot box

Inner-city areas recorded much lower turnout, with just 36.1% voting in east London's Newham, 38.7% in Barking & Dagenham and 40.4% in Brent.

Hammersmith & Fulham bucked the trend with 55.2% and had the ward with the most enthusiastic voters - the affluent Palace Riverside area with 72.1%.

And the voters least likely to go to the polls were in Hounslow's Cranford ward, adjoining Heathrow Airport, where only 26.3% voted.

London Elects is taking a giant inflatable ballot box across the capital over the next seven weeks in a roadshow designed to boost turnout.

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