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Runoff precinct analysis, Mayor’s race

All right, I now have a copy of a draft canvass report from Saturday’s election, courtesy of the Harris County Clerk’s office. As before, I will be going through it to see what I can learn from it. First up is a report on the Mayor’s race broken down by City Council districts. For comparison, here was the same analysis from the general election, from which the first table below comes:

Dist Parker Locke Brown Morales AP Pct GL Pct Tot votes ================================================================== A 7,450 2,601 4,937 6,312 35.0 12.2 21,300 B 1,537 8,774 2,931 681 11.0 63.0 13,923 C 10,439 4,522 5,224 4,156 42.9 18.6 24,341 D 6,185 11,928 4,642 1,007 26.0 50.1 23,762 E 5,741 3,147 5,734 8,084 25.2 13.9 22,706 F 2,714 2,079 3,026 1,935 27.8 21.3 9,754 G 11,183 4,985 7,643 9,881 33.2 14.8 33,962 H 6,011 3,119 3,082 2,143 41.9 21.7 14,355 I 2,650 2,815 2,215 1,582 28.6 30.4 9,262 Dist Parker Locke AP Pct GL Pct AP inc GL inc Tot votes %Nov ======================================================================= A 11,199 6,439 63.5 36.5 3,749 3,838 17,638 82.8 B 2,219 11,395 16.3 83.4 628 2,621 13,614 97.8 C 15,248 7,152 68.1 31.9 4,809 2,630 22,400 92.0 D 8,181 15,223 35.0 65.0 1,996 3,295 23,404 98.5 E 9,893 7,733 56.1 43.9 4,152 4,586 17,626 77.6 F 4,612 4,383 51.3 48.7 1,898 2,304 8,995 92.2 G 17,902 9,429 65.5 34.5 6,719 4,444 27,331 81.1 H 8,575 4,854 63.9 36.1 2,564 1,735 13,429 93.5 I 3,879 4,135 48.4 51.6 1,229 1,320 8,014 86.5

As a reminder, all data is Harris County only, and does not include provisional ballots or any corrections that may be made, but it’s plenty close enough for these purposes. As before, Locke finished first in three Council districts – B, D, and I – while Parker won the rest. On the flip side, Locke improved his performance by more than Parker in each district except C, E, and H. Her gains in those three districts were large enough so that she increased her total in Harris County by about a thousand more votes than Locke did. Even counting the Fort Bend numbers, Parker picked up more support than Locke did, adding 27,786 to her November total compared to a 27,430 boost for Locke.

Basically, the runoff followed the tried and true path of each candidate turning out his or her voters. There were some new participants – about 15% of the early voting pool – but I don’t think they had a great effect. Compare these maps from Round One, which show how Parker and Locke did individually, to this map from the runoff, which shows Parker’s performance. In that sense, the final numbers should be no surprise.

In looking at the turnout levels from November to December, it strikes me that the pre-Saturday conventional wisdom that Locke needed a higher level of turnout to win was wrong. I guess there might have been another 10,000 net votes for him to get in B and D given whatever extra resources his campaign thought it might have needed, but I think he wrung pretty close to maximum value out of them. You’d need for such an increase in turnout to be concentrated in the places where Locke did well for there to be a chance of a different result. As you can see, Parker surely would have benefited from more people showing up in A, C, and G. It’s not at all clear to me that a 180,000 vote runoff wouldn’t have given Parker a 55%+ win.

So that’s the Mayor’s race. I’ll have more to come soon.

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16 Comments

  1. JJMB says:

    Thanks again for doing this stuff again. Always interesting.

    While I agree with most of what you say, I do think that in addition to B & D, Locke could have benefited from higher turnout in A and E — both of which dropped off from Nov and were trending more Locke than Parker. So I disagree with you including A in that trio with C & G.

    Also, it is possible that a higher turnout in C & G could have come from more conservative voters (who perhaps did “boycott” as some predicted), and they might have sided with the Police, Firefighter and business endorsements (and maybe the deplorable anti-gay ones) and thus Locke. Perhaps it was the more moderate or liberal ones who dominated the C & G vote that did turn out, so the % would have changed more than you think. Even within A, C & G it depends on WHO those additional voters in a 180k turnout might have been. But I’m probably getting too deep into the “ifs and buts” area here.

    Nothing should take away from Parker’s very solid victory. She has a strong history working for the City, she ran a strong campaign, she deserved to win, and here’s to her doing a great job.

  2. Patrick says:

    JJMB, I think the drop in voters in District G had less to do wih conservatives staying at home to boycott and more to do with the fact that the issue that drove many of them, er, us to the polls in the general election was the propose HCC annexation of Spring Branch ISD. With that and the district seat decided in the general election, the Mayor’s race wasn’t that big of a draw.

    Either way in a pretty conservative district (one of Morales’ best) Parker picked up more votes in District G in the general and run-off than in any other district in the city.

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  4. JJMB says:

    I agree completely that plenty of Republicans had no problem voting for Parker, and probably as a nod to her 12 years of service, the experience that brings, her focus on fiscal responsibility, and her appearance of levelheadedness.

    I agree with Patrick that those G — and also C — increases for Parker are pretty big.

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