Most North East voters 'unaware' of mayoral election

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There are three elections on May 2

Most North East voters 'unaware' of mayoral electionMost North East voters 'unaware' of mayoral election
Most North East voters 'unaware' of mayoral election | NW

Just over a quarter of people know the date of this year's North East mayoral election according to a survey.

Following the creation of the new North East Combined Authority, the region elects its first mayor on May 2. However, just 28% of the public were aware of the election date and only 48% said they will vote, according to the survey by think tank Centre for Cities and researchers Focaldata.

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The lack of awareness of the date compares unfavourably with other regions having mayoral elections in May, such as Tees Valley on 45% and the West Midlands' 38%. On average across nine areas with mayoral elections in May, 61% of people said they expected to vote.

The think tank says awareness can be improved. In areas which already have directly-elected mayors, 74% of people were able to name their mayor compared to only 20% who could identify their local authority leader and 43% who could identify their MP.

Polling area also found that come polling day, the individual candidate matters more at mayoral elections than at a general election. At a mayoral election 52% said they will cast their vote based on the individual candidate, while 48% will vote for the party of their choice.

But at a general election the figure for the individual candidate was 36% compared to 64% voting for the party.

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People in mayoral areas favour more devolution. Across policy issues "there is an appetite to see decisions made at the local level, whether it is by metro mayors or the local authority".

Most respondents said local leaders should have more responsibility particularly over housing, transport and homelessness. In the North East 67% said they wanted local authorities to have more power over housing and 58% homelessness.

Andrew Carter, chief executive of Centre for Cities, said: “A challenge for all of us is to continue to build awareness of and raise the profile of metro mayors.

There are three elections here on Thursday, May 2.There are three elections here on Thursday, May 2.
There are three elections here on Thursday, May 2. | NW

"Local news sources and trusted institutions and individuals have important roles in raising the prominence of mayoral elections and supporting discussions about what issues matter most locally.

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"Places are demanding more of a say over the decisions that make a difference to their lives – housing and transport in particular. Westminster and Whitehall need to respond.”

May 2 also sees council and Police Commissioner elections.

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