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Are mayors working?

Updated: Mar 7

Why we're polling the people of West Yorkshire and the Tees Valley.


Over recent weeks, YASPER has worked with British Polling Council member Censuswide to gather the views of people from two areas who are set to vote for a mayor on May 2nd. The resulting data will be published in the first of a new series of insight reports: The State of Devolution over the coming days.


We wanted to test how mayoral devolution was being perceived by the people who really matter - the voters themselves. We chose West Yorkshire and the Tees Valley combined authority areas, as we wanted to give as broad a view as possible about attitudes. The West Yorkshire mayoralty is coming to the end of its first term, whereas the Tees Valley is coming to the end of its second. West Yorkshire has a Labour incumbent; Tees Valley has a Conservative.


Yes, we could have chosen Manchester and The West Midlands, or Bristol and South Yorkshire, but on balance, we felt that there were better data opportunities to be drawn by the areas chosen. Levelling-up has been a phrase at the top of the political agenda in both, and there are some fascinating policy nuances we wanted to explore.


We believe that data and insights are invaluable, and that’s why we’ve brought together our findings in a new report: The State of Devolution. We wanted a robust dataset, so we worked with a trusted survey partner in Censuswide and commissioned a large dataset of 1,000 respondents from each. This helped provide higher levels of certainty in our results, but also giving the ability to drill down into a number of sub-groups (such as age; gender; and local authority area), whilst still being statistically significant.


The questions were co-authored by experts, consisting of business leaders, journalists, and representative organisations, and taken through strict compliance by our pollster, to ensure none of the questions were leading.


And what we got back was a stunning and honest appraisal of voting intentions for 2024, perceived performance of the incumbent, and an overall judgment on how mayoral devolution was impacting everyday lives.


Not only will we be releasing The State of Devolution this weekend, which gives an overall steer as to the results across the two regions and what that means for mayoral devolution more widely, but we'll also publish two sub-reports: The State of West Yorkshire and The State of Tees Valley. These will drill down into much more detail, providing additional insights and analysis.


So why have we done this? We’ve spent a considerable amount of time, effort and expenditure on this research because we believe that through insight, we can achieve better. Yes, of course, we also want to showcase YASPER's abilities, but we fundamentally wouldn't have done this, if it didn't provide our audience with some value. For businesses, those insights into people’s policy preference can help them make sound decisions, and for politicians, it can give a greater understanding as to the mindset of their voters.


YASPER is geographically agnostic and apolitical. Whilst some of the results we present may be difficult to hear for some, we have approached the survey and associated comms with the highest levels of professionalism and impartiality.


In addition to the three reports that are being made available on our website's brand-new Insights section, we have this offer for all candidates in the upcoming elections: our doors are open. In fact, as the polling gathers views on existing mayoral performance, we've contacted the teams connected to both incumbents, to give them a heads-up.


What we say to any candidate for either election is, approach us to better understand these results. Businesses don’t often give away their time for free, but in this instance, the stakes - and opportunities - are too high not to share. All we ask is that you consider making a £100 donation to the WaveLength charity, an organisation that utilises media to help tackle loneliness. A fantastic cause and a small price to pay for what could be invaluable insights.


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