Thursday, September 30, 2010

MoCo Demographics and Voting, Part Four

Five top-tier candidates ran in the 2006 Council At-Large primary: incumbents George Leventhal, Nancy Floreen and Mike Subin and labor-backed challengers Marc Elrich and Duchy Trachtenberg. A host of less competitive candidates also ran, including four who were black and one who was Asian.

Did the demographic characteristics of the county’s precincts have any effect on these candidates’ votes?

Following are the vote totals of the five major at-large candidates by demographic category of precinct.

Overall, the rank order of finish in the 2006 Democratic at-large primary was George Leventhal, Marc Elrich, Duchy Trachtenberg, Nancy Floreen and Mike Subin, in that order. Those ranks did not change very much in different kinds of precincts. Leventhal had a great year and finished first in most places. Marc Elrich was a Takoma Park City Council Member and had run twice before in majority-minority District 5, so he did very well in heavily black precincts in those areas. Duchy Trachtenberg ran well in Bethesda since she had run for council there four years before. Her performance in white precincts was driven by her strength in Bethesda. Mike Subin ran fifth nearly everywhere. In none of these categories did a candidate of color break into the top four, though in precincts where blacks were 33% or more of the population, Hugh Bailey (who is African American) did edge out Subin for fifth.

The bottom line in our analysis is that we do not detect major race- or ethnic-based voting patterns in the 2006 at-large primary. Perhaps that was more of a factor in the 2008 and 2009 Council District 4 special elections, when Nancy Navarro was on the ballot. Perhaps things will work out differently in 2010.

And since we are now putting the finishing touches on the 2010 data, we will find out soon enough.