Analysis: Precinct-level Vote Totals Now Available

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The State Board of Elections made the precinct-level vote totals available late last week for the 2016 General Election and as promised I’ve compiled them, cleaned them up, made them available for download and incorporated them into my database. The full menu of options can be found here.

Having this granular data allows us to compile vote totals for any two areas that overlap. For example we can determine how each statewide candidate did by congressional or legislative district.

Note: these totals may differ from similar analysis performed elsewhere. Surprisingly enough, many districts only include partial precincts. Different methods for dealing with partial precincts can result in different totals.

 

In 2014 the Republican statewide candidates ran strong across the state, Rauner won 70 House districts, Topinka 69 and Cross 64. This cycle at the top of the ticket the Democrats came storming back with Clinton winning 77 of them while Duckworth won 74. As discussed in the post-mortem in some parts of downstate Trump’s intensity of support was off the charts, it just wasn’t broad enough to be felt throughout the state.

The Comptroller’s race was a bit more even, Mendoza and Munger each bested the other in 59 House districts despite Mendoza winning statewide by 5 points. The House Republicans picked up a net of four seats and overcame the poor showing at the top of the ticket but still underperformed Munger, only winning 51 House seats compared to 67 for the Democrats.

House Districts Won By: # Districts
House Democrats 67
Hillary Clinton 77
Tammy Duckworth 74
Susana Mendoza 59
House Districts Won By: # Districts
House Republicans 51
Donald Trump 41
Mark Kirk 44
Leslie Munger 59

Districts That Changed Hands

 

Let’s take a look at some of the districts that flipped this cycle. In many cases the legislative incumbents outperformed the top of their ticket, unfortunately for this group it wasn’t enough to hold onto their seats. There was a lot of ticket splitting going on though and in some cases there were very large discrepancies between what happened in the legislative race and the top of the ticket suggesting that voters were paying close attention and the campaign messages were getting through the clutter.

 

Sen-59   (R) Dale Fowler vs. (D) Gary Forby (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 10.4%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
R+ 40.74% R+ 5.5% R+ 23.45%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS
R+ 11.56% R+ 30.97% R+ 6.01% D+ 12.05% R+ 7.35% R+ 24.91%
12 PRES 12 GA
R+ 20.15% D+ 18.2%

Gary Forby was 10 points short of holding a district that Donald Trump won by 41 points, that’s quite a headwind. Forby’s district wasn’t on the ballot two years ago when Rauner won it by 31 points but he did manage a big win in 2012 even with Romney besting Obama by 20 points. Munger did quite well here winning by 23 while Kirk managed to win by just 5.5 points. Perhaps as many as 17% of the voters in this district were Trump/Forby voters but it wasn’t enough.

 


 

Rep-71   (R) Tony McCombie vs. (D) Mike Smiddy (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 25.8%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
R+ 5.81% R+ 1.96% R+ 5.66%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
D+ 1.68% R+ 14.05% D+ 3.71% D+ 22.4% R+ 15.72% R+ 8% D+ 0.9%
12 PRES 12 GA
D+ 15% D+ 4.2%

Challenger Tony McCombie outperformed every other candidate here by a notable amount in defeating Mike Smiddy. In a district that Obama won by 15 points four years ago and that Rauner won by 14 points two years ago she won by 26 points in a year when Trump and Munger could only manage 6 point wins and Kirk managed a narrow 2 point victory. The voters seemed to really key in on this race at a much greater intensity than the others on the ballot this time.

 


 

Rep-63   (R) Steven Reick vs. (D) John Bartman   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 13.0%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
R+ 12.28% R+ 9.62% R+ 22.57%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
R+ 20.2% R+ 34.02% D+ 2.49% D+ 20.31% R+ 19.82% R+ 25.77% D+ 17.08%
12 PRES 12 GA
R+ 7.67% D+ 99.2%

When Jack Franks withdrew from this race to run for McHenry County Board Chairman (a race he ultimately won) it was going to be difficult for the Democrats to hold this seat and appointed replacement John Bartman could not, losing by 13 points which roughly mirrored the presidential race. As mentioned in the post-mortem Munger did much better in the collars than either of her two fellow Republican statewide candidates, 10 points better than Trump here and 13 points better than Kirk. Four years ago Romney won this district by almost 8 points, two years ago Rauner won it by 34, the Dems were just sunk without Franks.

 


 

Rep-79   (R) Lindsay Parkhurst vs. (D) Katherine Cloonen (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 7.4%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
R+ 12.84% R+ 3.14% R+ 14.31%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
R+ 6.72% R+ 22.2% D+ 13.3% D+ 26.36% R+ 14.1% R+ 8.82% D+ 0.38%
12 PRES 12 GA
R+ 1.03% D+ 0.2%

Cloonen won each of the last two cycles in what were essentially coin flips, races that were so close she won by about 100 votes each time. Two years ago Rauner won this district by 22 points suggesting that with enough investment it could be picked up, and it was Parkhurst won by 7. Four years ago Obama held Romney to a narrow 1 point victory here but in 2016 Trump won the district by 13 and Munger won it by 14. Cloonen was able to halve Munger’s margin but it wasn’t enough.

 


 

Rep-117   (R) David Severin vs. (D) John Bradley (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 5.8%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
R+ 42.9% R+ 6.04% R+ 24.72%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
R+ 14.48% R+ 32.09% R+ 6.69% D+ 11.93% R+ 5.32% R+ 25.51% D+ 99.38%
12 PRES 12 GA
R+ 22.07% D+ 33.3%

They share the same voters so just like Gary Forby mentioned above John Bradley ran into a massive headwind that he just couldn’t overcome. Four years ago Romney won this district by 22 points, two years ago Rauner won it by 32 suggesting that it was fertile ground for a pickup. Bradley lost by just 6 in a district that Trump won by 43 points and Munger won by 25. Perhaps as many as 21% of the voters here were Trump/Bradley voters but it wasn’t enough.

 


 

Rep-76   (R) Jerry Long vs. (D) Andy Skoog (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 1.8%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
R+ 9.49% D+ 2.43% R+ 5.18%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
R+ 3.89% R+ 9.5% D+ 10.71% D+ 30.66% R+ 5.25% R+ 6.46% D+ 0.98%
12 PRES 12 GA
D+ 6.08% D+ 26.2%

This area of the state appears to have settled into swing territory. Two years ago Jerry Long made a spirited challenge against long time incumbent Frank Mautino coming up just short. Mautino left the legislature to become Auditor General but the local papers were still regularly following the investigation into irregularities in his campaign fund. This time around Long was able to best Andy Skoog, Mautino’s appointed replacement, by just shy of 2 points in a year when Trump won it by 9 and Munger by 5 while Duckworth enjoyed a 2 point win for the Democrats. Obama won it four years ago by 6 while Rauner won by almost 10 two years ago. We’ll likely be keeping an eye on this area for the next few cycles.

 


 

Rep-112   (D) Katie Stuart vs. (R) Dwight Kay (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 3.2%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
R+ 5.53% D+ 9.4% R+ 0.75%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
R+ 4.48% R+ 20.63% R+ 2.02% D+ 11.68% R+ 15.98% R+ 12.2% R+ 17.48%
12 PRES 12 GA
D+ 0.1% R+ 0.6%

Two years ago Rauner won this district by over 20 points but in presidential election years this looks to be a swing district. Four years ago Dwight Kay was re-elected in a narrow victory in a year when the presidential race here was essentially a tie. This time around Katie Stuart picked up the district for the Democrats by 3 points while the three statewide races were kind of all over the place, Trump won by almost 6, Munger won by less than a point and Duckworth won by more than 9. Even aside from the three statewide races the Republicans still did well here, the Republicans picked up the County Board Chairman’s race from the incumbent Democrat and Mike Bost, Rodney Davis and John Shimkus all won the precincts they had in common with this district (Shimkus was unopposed). This area will almost certainly be heavily contested next cycle.

 

 

Targeted Districts Won by Incumbents

 

Here is a rundown of some of the Senate and House districts that were the focus of heavy spending where the incumbent retained the seat.

 

Sen-23   (R) Seth Lewis vs. (D) Thomas Cullerton (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 1.4%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
D+ 11.94% D+ 8.87% R+ 4.43%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS
R+ 1.99% R+ 19.19% D+ 11.71% D+ 25.21% R+ 15.4% R+ 15.06%
12 PRES 12 GA
D+ 7.14% D+ 2.4%

Four years ago I was surprised when the Democrats won this mostly DuPage County senate district and now four years later Tom Cullerton has retained the seat. Seth Lewis outperformed the top of his ticket, losing by only a little over a point in a district where Clinton won by 12 and Duckworth by 9. It wasn’t all bad for the Republicans here, Munger won by over 4 but as we discussed in the post-mortem the power base of the Illinois Republican Party is moving from the collar counties to downstate so we’re going to be seeing race outcomes like this one in the suburbs for the next few cycles.

 


 

Sen-49   (R) Michelle Smith vs. (D) Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 5.4%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
D+ 10.29% D+ 10.26% R+ 0.03%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS
D+ 0.59% R+ 13.73% D+ 14.6% D+ 26.88% R+ 11.12% R+ 22.19%
12 PRES 12 GA
D+ 7.3% D+ 6.4%

Four years ago Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant won this district by a little over 6 points and this year despite all the spending it didn’t change all that much, she won by a little over 5. Clinton and Duckworth won by more than 10, compared to just 7 points for Obama four years ago, while the Mendoza/Munger race was essentially a tie here. Rauner won this district by almost 14 two years ago but it isn’t on the ballot next cycle so the Republicans will have to wait for the year of Trump’s re-elect to make another attempt.

 


 

Sen-28   (R) Mel Thillens vs. (D) Laura Murphy (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 7.00%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
D+ 19.83% D+ 12.9% R+ 2.22%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS
D+ 6.49% R+ 14.82% D+ 21.65% D+ 38.13% R+ 12.81% R+ 10.08%
12 PRES 12 GA
D+ 12.62% D+ 14.6%

Two years ago the Republicans did very well in this district, Rauner won by 15, Topinka by 13 and Cross by 10. However in presidential years this northwestern suburban district trends pretty Democratic. Laura Murphy, who was appointed to the seat when Dan Kotowski left, won her first chance at re-election by 7 points in a district Clinton won by 20, Duckworth won by 13 and Obama had won by 13. The lone bright spot for the Republicans was Munger edging Mendoza by 2.

 


 

Sen-31   (R) Mike Amrozowicz vs. (D) Melinda Bush (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 8.2%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
D+ 12.8% D+ 5.95% R+ 3.76%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS
R+ 2.8% R+ 18.68% D+ 14.64% D+ 26.42% R+ 13.26% R+ 13.34%
12 PRES 12 GA
D+ 6.86% D+ 2.8%

Four years ago Melinda Bush won a relatively narrow 3 point victory, this time around she won by a more comfortable 8. Clinton won this far north Lake County district by 13 while Duckworth won by just 6 and Munger won by almost 4. Two years ago Rauner won this district by almost 19 points but it is not on the ballot next cycle so the Republicans will have to wait four years for another shot at it.

 


 

Rep-20   (D) Merry Marwig vs. (R) Michael McAuliffe (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 12.2%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
D+ 8.3% D+ 5.76% R+ 5.3%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
D+ 7.85% R+ 5.89% D+ 22.95% D+ 40.45% R+ 15.71% R+ 6.21% R+ 24.9%
12 PRES 12 GA
D+ 7.1% R+ 21.2%

This was the most expensive race this cycle, much of it coming from the Republicans and much of that coming early as McAuliffe was up on Chicago broadcast TV in August during the Olympics, something completely unheard of for a legislative race. In the end McAuliffe overperformed all of the other Republicans winning by 12 in a district Trump lost by 8, Kirk lost by 6 and Munger only won by 5. Even in the wave Republican election year of two years ago Rauner only won this district by 6, although Topinka did win it by 16. It’s a district that favors moderate Republicans.

 


 

Rep-45   (D) Cynthia Borbas vs. (R) Christine Winger (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 6.8%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
D+ 2.46% R+ 1.21% R+ 14.89%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
R+ 9.63% R+ 28.01% D+ 4.21% D+ 18.83% R+ 21.95% R+ 23.23% R+ 8.88%
12 PRES 12 GA
R+ 2.12% R+ 10.8%

As the collars have been trending toward the Democrats this east-central DuPage district was one they hoped to put in play, but it’s not quite there. Two years ago Rauner won this district by 28 points but Romney won it by just 2 in 2012 and Clinton won it by 2 this time. Christine Winger won it by a comfortable 7 and Munger won by 15 so it’s still a Republican district for competitively contested elections. This may not be a district to keep an eye on two years from now but it seems likely it will be worth paying attention to in four years.

 


 

Rep-81   (D) Greg Hose vs. (R) David Olsen   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 6.8%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
D+ 15.97% D+ 3.68% R+ 12.21%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
R+ 2.92% R+ 22.9% D+ 8.68% D+ 24.18% R+ 19.88% R+ 20.1% R+ 19.98%
12 PRES 12 GA
D+ 1.67% R+ 100%

This is another one of those DuPage districts that could potentially be a swing district in four years but wasn’t there this cycle. Four years ago Obama won it by less than two points while this cycle Clinton won it by 16 and Duckworth by 4 while Munger still prevailed by 12. David Olsen, appointed to the seat when Ron Sandack stepped down, managed a comfortable 7 point win.

 


 

Rep-118   (R) Jason Kasiar vs. (D) Brandon Phelps (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 16.8%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
R+ 38.56% R+ 4.91% R+ 22.17%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
R+ 8.58% R+ 30.01% R+ 5.31% D+ 12.33% R+ 9.27% R+ 24.34% D+ 99.74%
12 PRES 12 GA
R+ 18.17% D+ 100%

Brandon Phelps hasn’t has a Republican opponent in either of the two previous cycles under this map but during that time Republican statewide candidates have been running up big numbers in this district. Romney won it by 18, Rauner by 30 and Cross by 24. However Phelps, the nephew of popular former congressman David Phelps, maintains a similar local popularity winning this district by 17 points even though Trump won it by 39 and Munger by 22. Perhaps as many as 30% of the voters in this district were Trump/Phelps voters. This district is adjacent to the district John Bradley just lost and those two House districts make up the Senate district that Gary Forby just lost, this area is trending Republican rather rapidly but so far Phelps has been able to weather the storm. This area will likely be a focal point in 2018.

 


 

Rep-46   (R) Heidi Holan vs. (D) Deborah Conroy (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 18.00%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
D+ 23.44% D+ 21.11% D+ 8.3%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
D+ 7.99% R+ 7.66% D+ 21.56% D+ 33.59% R+ 6.79% R+ 4.42% D+ 5.06%
12 PRES 12 GA
D+ 18.75% D+ 15.4%

This DuPage County district makes up half of Tom Cullerton’s senate district and just as Cullerton did Deb Conroy was able to retain the seat. Two years ago Conroy defeated Heidi Holan by 5 points even while Rauner won it by 8, Topinka by 7 and Cross by 4. This time around in a rematch against Holan Conroy won it by 18, which was somewhat similar to her 15 point margin in 2012. This district has been reliably Democratic in presidential years, Obama won it by 19, Clinton by 23, Duckworth by 21 and Mendoza by 8. The Democrats appear to have a beachhead in this part of DuPage County.

 


 

Rep-111   (R) Mike Babcock vs. (D) Daniel Beiser (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 5.2%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
R+ 16.26% D+ 10.96% D+ 0.94%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
D+ 1.14% R+ 16.52% D+ 2.85% D+ 19.11% R+ 9.83% R+ 5.06% D+ 100%
12 PRES 12 GA
D+ 5.18% D+ 17%

This district is adjacent to the district that Katie Stuart picked up for the Democrats from Dwight Kay and those two districts combine to form the senate district held by Bill Haine who was surprisingly unopposed this cycle. The Republicans put a surprising amount of money in this race, perhaps for good reason, Rauner won it by 17, Topinka by 10, Cross by 5 and this cycle Trump won it by 16. Despite all of that Dan Beiser won a rather comfortable 5 point race while Duckworth won by 11 and Mendoza narrowly edged Munger by a point. This looks like one of those areas where Trump was a strength but he didn’t have much coattails, we’ll see what happens in this district in 2018.

 


 

Rep-62   (R) Rod Drobinski vs. (D) Sam Yingling (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 4.8%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
D+ 16.23% D+ 8.89% R+ 2.44%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
D+ 0.79% R+ 15.94% D+ 16.75% D+ 29.9% R+ 11.98% R+ 11.23% D+ 4.2%
12 PRES 12 GA
D+ 11.18% D+ 10.6%

Despite all of the heavy spending in this race the final margin wasn’t much different from two years ago when these two candidates faced off, 4.8 points this year vs. 4.2 points in 2014. Two years ago Yingling won despite a strong showing from the Republicans, Rauner won it by 16, Topinka by 12 and Cross by 11 but in presidential election years the Democrats have done well here, Obama won it by 12, Clinton by 16 and Duckworth by 9. Munger did manage to win it by 2 and it seems likely that the Republicans will be back again in 2018 for another try.

 

2016 General Election Post-Mortem

Published on

I’ve been busy catching up on all of the things I put off until after the election so here’s a very belated post-mortem.

Note: the vote totals are not yet final and certified, those numbers will change. The numbers shown here are for 100% of precincts reporting on election night and do not yet include any ballots counted post-election night.

 

President

The Democrats swept the three statewide races and of the three Hillary Clinton won by the largest margin, 16.5 points (compared to about 15 points for Duckworth and about 4.5 for Mendoza), and had the most total votes. Of the three Democratic candidates Clinton may have had the most paid media even if it wasn’t paid for by her campaign directly, Leading Illinois for Tomorrow (LIFT), a federal superpac, spent roughly $9 million on ads that were ostensibly designed to drive up Governor Rauner’s negatives but mostly just functioned as Trump attack ads (see here and here, for example).

In the Chicagoland region her numbers were historically strong. In Chicago she basically matched Obama’s 2012 numbers and wasn’t far off his 2008 totals. In the Cook County suburbs she was even better than Obama’s 2012 numbers and far ahead of Kerry 2004 and Gore 2000. She won the collars outright and again bested Obama 2012, Kerry 2004 and Gore 2000.

 
Region Clinton 14 Quinn 12 Obama 08 Obama 04 Kerry 00 Gore
Cook County 74.65% 64.74% 74.01% 76.21% 70.25% 68.63%
___Chicago 83.71% 77.35% 84.00% 85.41% 81.28% 80.14%
___Cook Burbs 65.38% 52.75% 63.82% 66.64% 58.97% 56.44%
Collars 52.30% 37.91% 50.53% 55.79% 45.46% 43.92%
Downstate 37.86% 33.93% 45.33% 51.00% 44.75% 46.39%
TOTAL 55.70% 46.35% 57.60% 61.92% 54.82% 54.60%
 

The Trump Vote

Outside the Chicagoland area it was a different story. Trump won the 90 counties outside the Chicago media market roughly 57-37, some in historically commanding fashion. Looking at the vote totals by media market what’s strange is that down the middle Trump’s numbers were downright ordinary. In the Rockford, Peoria and Champaign/Springfield/Decatur media markets his vote totals were very similar to Romney 2012 and all lagged Bush 2004 and espeically Rauner 2014. Yet in the remaining media markets Trump’s numbers blew away the other Republican presidential candidates this century and either rivaled or surpassed Rauner’s 2014 numbers. Remember, Rauner won the state by 4 points (with very impressive downstate numbers) and Trump lost it by more than 16 so to rival or surpass Rauner’s performance in these areas was no small feat for Trump.

 
MM Trump 14 Rauner 12 Romney 08 McCain 04 Bush 00 Bush
C/S/D 55.75% 61.77% 55.13% 49.09% 57.59% 52.94%
Chicago 30.57% 44.85% 34.75% 31.49% 39.35% 38.30%
Evansville 79.26% 76.33% 70.46% 58.08% 66.91% 61.75%
Paducah 66.03% 61.67% 57.32% 51.78% 55.90% 49.48%
Peoria 53.39% 59.87% 53.88% 48.37% 55.47% 52.60%
Quad Cities 50.64% 55.34% 42.87% 41.20% 47.86% 44.35%
Quincy 68.40% 70.41% 60.95% 55.52% 60.96% 55.03%
Rockford 51.49% 59.39% 49.10% 45.32% 53.57% 52.14%
St. Louis 57.29% 59.79% 50.70% 44.83% 49.81% 46.37%
Terre Haute 74.52% 70.78% 66.33% 55.40% 64.61% 59.56%
TOTAL 39.13% 50.27% 40.73% 36.78% 44.48% 42.58%

We have good data on total media buy spending for each campaign but the data I wish I really had but don’t is the spending for each campaign media buy by media market. I can tell you from my past experience working on statewide campaigns when we went up on TV the first markets we bought downstate were the three down the middle (Rockford, Peoria and Champaign/Springfield/Decatur) because they are entirely within the state so those buys/markets were more efficient than the rest which include viewers in other states. I suspect the reason that Trump’s numbers down the middle were so pedestrian has to do with media buys. If we had the LIFT spending by media market perhaps we’d find that the bulk of their spending was in Chicago and these three downstate media markets while neglecting the rest, or perhaps some other media buy explanation holds the key, but I’d bet the reason has to do with paid advertising.

 

US Senate

Here’s what I wrote in my What to Watch For post on election day:

Downstate – In 2010 the downstate 96 counties were especially strong for the Republicans. Kirk and Brady both got 59% of the vote. The Democrats rebounded in 2012, Romney only got about 53% of the vote there, but the Republicans came back strong in 2014 when Rauner took 61%. Can Kirk replicate the downstate Republican performance of 2010 and 2014 or will the Democrats improve as they did in 2012?

Suburbs (especially the northern ones) – in 2010 Kirk won his race by about a point and a half and Brady lost to Quinn by about half a point. Most of the difference came in the Cook County suburbs and the collars and most of that difference came in the northern end. Kirk had represented the north shore in Congress and those voters rewarded him in his Senate race. Kirk did about three and a half points better than Brady in the 5 traditional collar counties combined but it was even more pronounced in Lake County where the difference was six and a half points (56.6% to 50.1%). He’s going to need to run just as strong in Lake County again to help his chances.

Kirk just couldn’t match his 2010 performance this time around, he even lost his stronghold of Lake County 50-45 and the bottom fell out just about everywhere. He did about 7 points worse downstate, 10 points worse in the Cook County suburbs and 11 points worse in the collars.

 
Region 16 Kirk 10 Kirk
Cook County 24.94% 31.63%
___Chicago 16.35% 19.47%
___Cook Burbs 33.68% 43.47%
Collars 45.48% 56.24%
Downstate 52.09% 59.02%
TOTAL 39.97% 48.01%
 

Comptroller

Susana Mendoza scored an impressive victory against a much better funded incumbent which may add a new variable to an otherwise unchanging Springfield budget battle, but it’s worth noting that while losing Leslie Munger still outperformed the top of her ticket by about 12 points.

 
Region Munger Trump Kirk 14 Rauner
Cook County 29.12% 21.16% 24.94% 33.26%
___Chicago 19.10% 12.47% 16.35% 20.63%
___Cook Burbs 39.27% 30.05% 33.68% 45.32%
Collars 51.56% 41.76% 45.48% 59.51%
Downstate 56.12% 56.45% 52.09% 60.81%
TOTAL 44.62% 39.13% 39.97% 50.27%

For all the talk of how impressive Trump’s downstate numbers were (see above from me for example) Munger actually matched his performance in the downstate 96 counties. It was in the Chicagoland area that she did notably better than the top of her ticket, she ran 7 points better than Trump in Chicago, 9 points better in the Cook County suburbs and 10 points better in the collars. But in the end it wasn’t enough, you can see that she just wasn’t able to approach the numbers of Rauner’s winning 2014 coalition.

 

Illinois Legislative Elections

In 2014 both Rauner and Topinka won by about 4 points and in the process Rauner got more votes than Quinn in 70 state house districts while Topinka got more votes than Simon in 69 state house districts. Tom Cross lost to Mike Frerichs by about a quarter of a point and still managed to get the most votes in 64 state house districts, even Jim Oberweis won 51 state house districts while losing to Dick Durbin by 10 points yet the House Republicans only held 47 seats.

Clearly in 2014 the House Republicans significantly underperformed their available political potential. With a massive investment of financial resources from the Governor and his wealthy allies the Republicans appeared poised to pick up a number of seats and move closer to realizing their potential. The open question was just how many, afterall 2014 was a national wave election for Republicans while 2016 was a mixed bag nationally and a strong Democratic year for Illinois statewide candidates. In the end the Republicans won 7 races and lost one. Some were low hanging fruit, they picked up retiring Sen. Sullivan’s seat uncontested, they also won the seats previously held by Sen. Forby, Rep. Franks and Rep. Bradley, all seats that Rauner had won by more than 30 points just two years ago. They picked up Kate Cloonen’s seat, she had won her last two races by 91 and 122 total votes, and this time around the Republicans had enough resources to make the difference winning by more than 7 points. Two years ago Jerry Long came within a point of upsetting Frank Mautino and this time around Long was able to beat his appointed replacement, Andy Skoog, by about a point. And the most impressive pickup came in northwest Illinois where Tony McCombie beat Mike Smiddy by about 25 points in a district Rauner only won by 14.

The end result was a net Republican pickup of 4 seats in the house reducing the Democratic majority to 67-51 and 2 in the senate reducing the Democratic majority to 37-22, which is still a supermajority in the senate.

 

Mike McAuliffe

The most impressive legislative victory wasn’t a pickup, it was in the 20th House where Mike McAuliffe retained his seat by 12 points against a strong challenge from Merry Marwig. The spending in this race was unprecedented, McAuliffe was up on Chicago broadcast television in late August, unheard of for a state house race. It was an expensive retention but the margin was significant. McAuliffe actually did about 4.5 points better in the Chicago part of the district than the suburban part. And then there’s this, these are the two precincts in Rosemont:

 
Precinct McAuliffe % Marwig % Total
Leyden 12 621 82.91% 128 17.09% 749
Leyden 38 176 67.18% 86 32.82% 262
  797 78.83% 214 21.17% 1011

That’s almost 600 votes of margin in just two precincts.

 

Tom Cullerton

The other impressive retention happened on the Democratic side in the senate where Tom Cullerton appears to have narrowly retained his seat despite a heavy challenge from Seth Lewis. It wasn’t that long ago that suggesting Democrats could compete in DuPage County would get you laughed out of the room yet both Tom Cullerton in the Senate and Deb Conroy in the House have been able to win seats in this Republican stronghold and retain them.

 

Dwight Kay

Democrats had an impressive pickup as well beating Dwight Kay in the Metro East. Katie Stuart managed to upset the incumbent in this Madison County district despite the fact that Trump won the county by 16 points and incumbent Democratic County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan was defeated.

 

 

Other Observations

 

Southern Illinois

Take a look at this map of four state house districts under the previous map (2002-2011):

In the upper right district that goes from Effingham to Carmi it was once represented by Chuck Hartke, the district just west of that that includes Centralia and Mt. Vernon was once represented by Kurt Granberg. Just south of Granberg is John Bradley’s district and just south of him is Brandon Phelps district. Once the Democrats lost the Hartke and Granberg districts those districts stayed Republican, the current map changed those two districts a bit but the Democrats don’t really compete there anymore. The Bradley and Phelps districts are basically the same as the previous map but they have been trying to hang on in the face of this evolution taking place in southern Illinois. In 1994 when Jim Edgar beat Dawn Clark Netsch she lost all but one county and it wasn’t Cook, it was Gallatin County in Southern Illinois. This year Trump won Gallatin county 72-24.

(For more on the changing political dynamic in both southern Illinois and the suburbs check out Charlie Wheeler’s take in Illinois Issues.)

This cycle the Republicans beat John Bradley and Gary Forby (Forby’s senate district is the combination of Bradley and Phelps). Rauner won all three of these districts by more than 30 points two years ago. Phelps managed to win his seat by about 16 points but the trend suggests that his district will be a target in future cycles. Not shown in the picture above but just to the west of these districts is the seat held by Jerry Costello Jr., a district that Rauner also won by more than 30 points. Costello was unopposed this cycle and was unopposed in 2014. Southern Illinois will be worth keeping an eye on in 2018.

 

Collar Counties

Of the five traditional collar counties only McHenry County remains reliably Republican in presidential election years (and even the McHenry County Board Chairman’s race went Democratic this year when Jack Franks won it). Clinton, Duckworth, Obama 2012 and Obama 2008 all won DuPage, Kane, Lake and Will. As Charlie Wheeler pointed out in the article I linked to above the base of the Illinois Republican party is moving from the suburbs to downstate.

 
County Clinton Duckworth Mendoza Obama 12 Obama 08
DuPage 53.88% 48.86% 41.36% 49.73% 54.72%
Kane 51.36% 48.32% 42.20% 49.73% 55.23%
Lake 57.29% 50.04% 44.88% 53.48% 59.26%
McHenry 42.69% 41.39% 35.02% 44.68% 51.91%
Will 50.25% 50.89% 45.08% 52.00% 56.00%
 

Chekhov’s Gun

This cycle had two large infusions of cash. In the 114th House outspoken Republican candidate Bob Romanik loaned his campaign $2 million and he promised to use those funds to both win the E. St. Louis-based state house seat and to help other local candidates upend the local power dynamic. Despite those assertions it doesn’t appear that Romanik pulled the trigger on that spending, he lost his house race by about 14 points and no other candidates reported receiving donations from him (traditional or in-kind) and he didn’t report making any independent expenditures. For more background on Romanik scroll down to the St. Clair county section here.

The other large infusion of cash came on New Year’s Eve 2014 when Bruce Rauner replenished his depleted campaign fund with $20 million and promised to spend that money to help his legislative allies who stuck with him on tough votes. As I pointed out back in August he kept that promise.

 

End of Campaign Finance Limits

Last, Illinois campaign contribution limits are now functionally dead. The laws remain on the books and the campaigns and committees will still have to take the legal steps to circumvent them but the participants are no longer trying to abide by the spirit of the law and with that damn now broke the limits are now just a nuisance rather than a deterrent. Even for proponents of campaign contribution limits lifting the limits wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, that’s what evened the playing field when either significant outside money or candidate personal/family funds entered the race. However limit proponents had hoped that public shaming would prevent committees from lifting the limits solely for the sake of lifting them, but that’s exactly what happened and there was no public outcry. Meanwhile the Democrats learned how to circumvent the limits without having to lift them, creating numerous entryways by co-opting a significant number of the candidate committees in their caucus and then moving the money around as needed.

I remain skeptical that while Supreme Court rulings enabling unlimited personal spending and unlimited outside uncoordinated spending are the law of the land Illinois can enact campaign contribution limits that are both effective and fair but for this next cycle it’s probably a moot point. We’re unlikely to see any significant changes to campaign finance law, what changes are there that a) the Democrats would want to have pass both chambers and b) that the Governor would want to sign that would effectively limit the resources each wants and needs to fight the other in this upcoming election?

 

What to Watch For

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These links will have all my live data tonight:

Statewide Races
IL – President
IL – US Senate
IL – Comptroller
General Assembly Races
Illinois State Senate
Illinois State House
 

What to Watch For

 

Final Early and Vote By Mail Totals

Total Vote By Mail Applications: 493,333
Total VBM Ballots Returned: 352,428
Return Rate: 71%
Total Early Voters: 1,390,019
Total Grace Period Voters: 44,722
   
Total Already Voted: 1,787,169
Total VBM Ballots Outstanding: 140,905

With 140,905 outstanding vote by mail ballots any statewide race closer than that could still be affected by late arriving mail ballots. Also, keep in mind that the election authorities are no longer able to count the votes they already have, the early and mail votes, prior to the polls closing on election night. They used to get a head start counting those votes prior to 7pm, the Attorney General clarified that they cannot do that so in some of these jurisdictions those votes will get counted on election night along with the in-precinct votes and in others those votes will be counted tomorrow or in the following few days.

 

National

This seems like Trump’s most plausible path to 270, it involves winning all of Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, New Hampshire, Nevada, Arizona and Iowa, plus the available congressional districts in Maine and Nebraska. The eastern timezone states will probably tell us a lot early in the night.

If Trump is doing well he’ll be in a position to win in FL, OH, NC and NH and will be competitive in MI and PA. If Trump wins either of MI or PA a number of paths open up, otherwise he pretty much has to run the table in the swing states.

If Clinton is doing well she’ll be winning MI and PA and possibly NH. If she wins all three she probably wins (although she could substitute Nevada for New Hampshire later in the night too), if she wins any of FL, NC or OH it’s hard to find a path for Trump and she probably has it locked down.

 

US Senate – Illinois

The best benchmark for this race is Kirk’s last victory in 2010. That year was a strong Republican year while this year is not expected to be. Here are two things to keep an eye on.

Downstate – In 2010 the downstate 96 counties were especially strong for the Republicans. Kirk and Brady both got 59% of the vote. The Democrats rebounded in 2012, Romney only got about 53% of the vote there, but the Republicans came back strong in 2014 when Rauner took 61%. Can Kirk replicate the downstate Republican performance of 2010 and 2014 or will the Democrats improve as they did in 2012?

On the Democratic side there is some evidence to suggest that 2010 and 2014 were historically bad. In 2010 Quinn and Giannoulias both took 34% in the downstate 96 counties, same with Quinn in 2014. Even Carol Moseley-Braun took 37% in 1998 and Blagojevich got 40% in his 2006 re-elect, both were thought to be unpopular downstate. In 2004 Kerry took 45% and in 2000 Gore got 46%. The downstate 96 counties will probably make up about 38% of the total statewide vote so Duckworth doesn’t necessarily need to hit the high water marks here, she just has to be better than the atrocious Democratic years of 2010 and 2014.

Suburbs (especially the northern ones) – in 2010 Kirk won his race by about a point and a half and Brady lost to Quinn by about half a point. Most of the difference came in the Cook County suburbs and the collars and most of that difference came in the northern end. Kirk had represented the north shore in Congress and those voters rewarded him in his Senate race. Kirk did about three and a half points better than Brady in the 5 traditional collar counties combined but it was even more pronounced in Lake County where the difference was six and a half points (56.6% to 50.1%). He’s going to need to run just as strong in Lake County again to help his chances.

Tonight we won’t have the township by township results in Cook County (I don’t expect, they usually aren’t available until morning) but we will have the results in the Cook County suburbs overall. Six years ago Kirk ran four points better than Brady (43.5% to 39.5%), he’s going to need to do something similar to help his chances.

 

Comptroller

We haven’t had much polling in this race, at least not recently, so I don’t know what to make of this race. The external factors certainly favor the Democrats but the spending favored Munger. I’ll probably keep an eye on this race relative to the 2014 State Treasurer’s race where Frerichs just barely edged Cross.

The other thing to keep an eye on will be the totals by media market. Both candidates have been on TV but Munger has had more money to spend. It will be interesting to see if there were media markets where she was on TV and Mendoza wasn’t and if that shows up in the vote totals.

 

Housekeeping

I’m going to turn off the system that runs live totals for all of the General Assembly races, each time those pages load the server runs all the calculations to pull the live totals. I want to keep the demand on the server light tonight so you can find a static copy of those current totals HERE.

Election Night Live Results

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Here are links to the pages that I plan to have live on election night:

Statewide Races
IL – President
IL – US Senate
IL – Comptroller
General Assembly Races
Illinois State Senate
Illinois State House

The election night vote totals found on most media organization websites come from the AP. Illinois has 109 election authorities and each report their own vote totals independently, the AP has people gathering those totals from each authority and then providing the aggregate totals for each race. It is a massive and impressive service they perform.

For a number of years now I have wanted to buy access to that data but I cannot. It’s not that I can’t afford it, I always figured that whatever the price I could probably raise enough in sponsor money to meet the amount necessary but the AP just won’t let me. They told me that they only sell access to their election night vote total data to news organizations and since I was not a news organization it was out of the question. I sent a snide response which made me feel better but doesn’t change the outcome.

My only two options are: 1) round up enough volunteers to manually enter vote totals from every county all night, something I did in the 2014 primary but which I don’t have the means to do again or 2) find the data I need from a news organization and then copy/paste that someplace where I can reformat it and run calculations on the totals, something I was able to do on general election night in 2014.

I’ve long been frustrated that on election night you can usually learn little more than who is currently leading and how many precincts have reported. Everyone has the same obvious follow up questions: 1) of the vote that has not yet been reported where is it and 2) of the vote that has not yet been reported who does it favor, by how much and is that enough to close the gap for the candidate that is behind? It’s very rare that anyone attempts to answer those questions even if/when they have the means to do so and it’s something I’d like to do.

If I can somehow find the county by county data I need on Tuesday night and figure out how to copy/paste it into my database that’s exactly what I plan to do for the three statewide races (IL-President, IL-US Senate, IL-Comptroller). For the Illinois State House and State Senate races if I can figure out how to copy/paste those raw vote totals for each race into my database I’ll have a tracker for each chamber that not only shows who is winning and by how much but also how each race affects the overall partisan makeup of each chamber.

The statewide race trackers include both county by county raw vote total as well as projected vote totals. You can find the results broken down by media market and region as well as all of the historical vote totals for each. The General Assembly results pages include a breakdown of of how many seats each party has won or is winning, how many of those wins are pickups and the current and new makeup of each chamber. It also has the races ranked by how much money was spent in each, the most expensive races are likely to be the ones that are the most competitive so that the races getting the most attention are likely to be near each other visually on the page, which will hopefully save some of that annoying scrolling up and down the page we always have to do on election night.

If you are a media organization preparing your election night coverage and you see anything here that you would like to incorporate or would find useful please take it, it’s yours. If there is any information or calculations you have questions about please ask, glad to help. If you would like to return the favor by making the information I need available and showing me the format in advance I would greatly appreciate it. I always spend the 7pm hour scrambling to try to find the data I need and then get the copy/paste and calculations set up because I never know how things are going to look. Any time spent searching and coding is time that can’t be spent analyzing and it’s always a fire drill.

Hopefully I can get the data I need into my database and these trackers will prove pretty useful. If not, I tried, we’re entirely at the mercy of others here.

Chicago Mayoral Runoff Election Analysis

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Instead of writing my usual post mortem blog post on the election results for last week’s mayor’s race I agreed to work with the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform to perform a somewhat longer and more in-depth election analysis and write a comprehensive report.

One of the elements I found most interesting was that we were able to use US Census data to find a workable definition of the “Two Chicagos” message that the Garcia campaign focused on and one of the more surprising outcomes was that Emanuel did better than I expected among voters in this less affluent, more minority segment of city voters.

A few other interesting observations:

  • The Garcia campaign was able to turnout more Hispanic voters in April, something that is very difficult to do, and voters in Hispanic majority precincts made up a greater raw total of new voters in April than voters in African American majority precincts despite the fact that the Hispanic voting population is far smaller. In April there were almost 26K more voters than February in Hispanic majority precincts compared to just under 23K more voters in African American majority precincts.
  • Despite the impressive increase in voters from majority Hispanic precincts the increase in voters in white majority precincts was even greater. There were about 46K more voters in white majority precincts in April than in February.
  • Also, despite the impressive increase in new voters in Hispanic majority precincts Emanuel maintained roughly the same level of support in these precincts from February to April. In February Emanuel had the support of about 34% of the voters in Hispanic majority precincts and in April that only fell to 33% in Hispanic majority precincts, so despite the increase in enthusiasm and turnout Emanuel still held on to his supporters.

Go read the whole thing, there is a full analysis on this “Two Chicagos” element, plus data on turnout, income, education and race.

Chicago Mayoral Election – Changes in Registration

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One item really quick, I went to the CBOE website and pulled the registered voter totals from February and the ones they have currently listed for the runoff and put them into the table below, ordered by the largest increase to the smallest.

Ward April Registration Feb Registration Change
1 29,907 29,232 675
46 29,349 28,676 673
2 33,066 32,438 628
43 30,874 30,254 620
32 31,084 30,469 615
42 31,924 31,309 615
47 33,807 33,218 589
44 30,377 29,803 574
11 26,035 25,470 565
3 32,680 32,142 538
25 25,731 25,194 537
27 32,605 32,087 518
4 31,155 30,651 504
48 30,279 29,787 492
26 25,181 24,709 472
41 34,797 34,339 458
45 31,649 31,191 458
5 29,778 29,321 457
49 25,550 25,105 445
40 28,228 27,800 428
28 32,829 32,409 420
33 23,324 22,909 415
35 22,243 21,846 397
23 22,767 22,399 368
39 29,503 29,135 368
13 24,298 23,932 366
29 34,881 34,515 366
7 32,778 32,415 363
31 21,792 21,429 363
10 25,931 25,572 359
20 26,003 25,662 341
6 33,994 33,658 336
19 35,346 35,016 330
24 27,179 26,850 329
38 29,900 29,593 307
50 25,217 24,914 303
36 21,593 21,293 300
16 26,365 26,071 294
18 32,066 31,783 283
9 36,733 36,454 279
37 31,608 31,338 270
8 37,765 37,496 269
14 18,088 17,822 266
30 21,605 21,339 266
12 18,185 17,930 255
15 18,478 18,233 245
34 38,714 38,472 242
21 38,481 38,244 237
22 19,135 18,907 228
17 30,780 30,599 181
Total 1,441,637 1,421,430 20,207

I had expected to see Hispanic wards with the largest raw increases for two reasons, 1) those wards generally have the lowest raw registration totals so they had the most room to grow and 2) some Hispanic focused polling showed significant enthusiasm about the election.

Instead the wards with the largest raw increase in registration since February tend to be wards that are affluent or white or both. Those are subgroups that tended to favor Emanuel in February. It’s impossible to say which candidates these new registrants are most likely to support, you could make a case for either candidate, but looking at these numbers they did not match the numbers I expected to find.

The Challenge Facing Garcia

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The CBOE has updated their election results twice already to include valid late arriving vote by mail votes. They will update on March 10th with final numbers that will include any further late arriving VBM votes and any provisional votes that are deemed valid. There will be some more votes added in before these numbers are finalized and certified but not a huge amount. Here’s where the totals stand as of now:

Emanuel Garcia Wilson Fioretti Walls Total
217,118 159,600 50,604 35,241 13,190 475,753
45.64% 33.55% 10.64% 7.41% 2.77%

Using round numbers there were about 475K total votes in this race and just shy of 100,000 people (99,035) voted for one of the candidates that did not qualify for the runoff. Those votes are in play and we discussed them in detail the other day.

Let’s assume for a second that everyone who voted for each of Emanuel and Garcia last month votes again in April and for the same candidate. With that assumption Emanuel starts with a lead of almost 58K votes (57,518) that Garcia needs to make up, and obviously the most fertile ground to find those votes is among the people who voted for either Wilson/Fioretti/Walls because they’ve already turned out for an election once this year. Now let’s also assume that of the voters who voted for either Wilson, Fioretti or Walls back in February at least some of them decide to stay home in April because they just don’t favor either candidate in the runoff. There comes a point where if that number gets sufficiently large then Emanuel doesn’t have to win over any new voters to win the runoff, he could theoretically win the runoff by holding his existing coalition among an April electorate that has shrunk from the February electorate.

Garcia has to keep these Wilson/Fioretti/Walls voters in the April electorate and voting. If 42% of them don’t turn out in April then Garcia can’t win without expanding the electorate in other places. Even if the Wilson/Fioretti/Walls voters lean moderately to heavily anti-incumbent he has to win them over and turn them out, of those roughly 100K votes he has to get the first 58K and then do no worse than split the rest.

Other Options – Expand the Electorate

The next and possibly more difficult option is to try to expand the electorate. As we saw last week, historically runoff elections in Chicago have lower turnout than the February election. This is our first runoff election for Mayor in the modern era so perhaps this runoff will behave differently. If Garcia is going to be able to expand the electorate in his favor these are his most likely avenues:

  1. Natural Growth – there is a plausible theory that now that the Mayor’s aura of invincibility has been pierced voters who are displeased with his first administration but did not think their vote would matter will turn out this time around. There will also likely be a subset of voters who favor the Mayor who have the same rationale, however given the anti-incumbent mood displayed by the voters in February overall this likely favors Garcia. It’s impossible to know how large this natural growth could be and it will mostly be organic and not necessarily as a result of any particular GOTV effort by the campaigns.
  2. Hispanic Voters – Garcia’s strongest subset in February was with Hispanic voters so his best chance to expand the electorate in his favor for April is in this subgroup. Garcia faces two difficult challenges here: 1) Hispanics are generally registered at lower rates than other subgroups and turnout can often be mixed at best. Of the 10 wards with the fewest ballots cast in February 9 were majority Hispanic population wards. Of the 12 wards with the poorest turnout percentage in February 6 were majority Hispanic population wards, 5 were majority AA wards and the remaining one had no majority. 2) While Garcia won a majority of Hispanic voters in February Emanuel held his own (56-34). Even if Garcia wins the support of all of the Hispanics who voted for Wilson/Fioretti/Walls in February he’s still only netting 32 votes for every 100 new people he turns out. If he was going to try to make up his entire 58K deficit here he’d have to turn out 181K new Hispanic voters, only 73K people living in majority Hispanic census tracts turned out in February. The math here isn’t easy.
  3. Disaffected Liberals – According to Politico “Democracy for America and MoveOn.org, are partnering on field efforts, and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, is raising money for the cash-starved Garcia”. Looking at the breakdown of February’s results by demographic data if large numbers of disaffected liberals exist it’s not easy to identify them based on demographic profiles. Emanuel won majority white census tracts outright and the higher an area’s income and/or the higher the percentage of college graduates the more likely that area was to support Emanuel. Perhaps these experienced groups have found the formula for identifying and motivating like minded individuals. More likely Garcia’s best hope for finding and turning out disaffected liberals is that DFA and MoveOn have lengthy member lists in the area and they can put an effective member to member contact program together.
  4. Organized Labor – it’s clear that the Chicago Teacher’s Union will go all out for Garcia, CTU appears to have taken a big step forward this cycle, and CPS is on Spring Break the week of the April election so they’ll have a tremendous opportunity to activate their members on election day. After that though, it gets a bit murky. The politically experienced Service Employees International Union was neutral in the primary and while they’ve publicly said they would reevaluate getting involved in the runoff they also seem to be going through some internal division within the union and it’s hard to predict what they will do. Then you get to the building trades and while the conventional wisdom is that the unions are generally united in opposing Emanuel many people forget that many of the building trades actually endorsed Emanuel. In February Emanuel did poorest with the less affluent voters and the unions are historically the best at member to member communications so the opportunity for Garcia here is real, it’s just not clear that organized labor is as united in opposing Emanuel as people seem to think they are.
  5. Others – Wilson did best with AA voters, almost 80% of his votes came from areas with AA majority population, so an endorsement from him could be a boost but somehow his endorsement has taken on a life of its own and become a bit of a side show. Fioretti appeared to do best with blue collar white voters, among voters living in majority white precincts with a median household income between $60,000 – $100,000 Fioretti’s support was twice as strong where less than 40% of the population had a bachelor’s degree than the areas where more than 40% had a bachelor’s degree. If Fioretti can be of any help to Garcia it’s likely among this group.

Garcia has momentum on his side and a mathematically plausible path to victory, but the math for him isn’t easy. Looking at his February numbers there is no one subgroup where he had sufficient support to have a clear focus, if he is going to emerge victorious it seems like it will require a multifaceted approach. If the size of the runoff electorate in April shrinks as has historically been the case then Emanuel moves closer to victory simply by holding his current coalition together. Garcia has to find the raw votes to make up that difference, either by winning over the supporters of other candidates or turning out new voters. Early voting starts two weeks from Monday, the clock is ticking.

2015 Mayoral Results Merged With 2010 Census Data

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Because we have shapefiles (GIS data files) of the Chicago precinct boundaries from Tuesday’s 2015 Mayoral election we can use software to match them up against any other data set where we have shapefiles, including 2010 US census data. I ran an intersect on the precinct boundary shapefiles against the 2010 census data by census tract (and then prorated the vote totals based on the percentage of land area overlap) so that I could merge data on median household income, education as measured by the percentage of people in a census tract that had a bachelor’s degree or higher and also a much more granular estimation of race than the tracker from the other night. It yielded some interesting results.

View the Results

Download the Results (Spreadsheet)

Analysis:

Early voting starts in a little over three weeks (March 23rd) so these two candidates have very little time to persuade voters. It will be interesting to see which of these two campaigns tries to win over new voters vs. which ones just focus in increasing turnout among the subsets of voters where they have the most support.

It probably won’t come as a surprise for you to learn that the Mayor did better with affluent voters than the less affluent voters but it did surprise me to learn that a small majority (50.3%) of voters on Tuesday live in census tracts where the median household income is less than $60,000. The Mayor only won that group 41-34 as opposed to the people who live in census tracts with median household income above $60,000 where the Mayor’s margin was greater at 50-33. There is a pretty clear financial divide for these two candidates that may prove beneficial for GOTV strategies.

In census tracts with a majority Hispanic population Garcia won an outright victory 56-34, however only 15% of Tuesdays voters live in those areas. On the other hand Emanuel won a clear victory in census tracts with a majority white population 53-32 and 37% of Tuesday’s voters live in those areas. Even though Garcia has a natural base with Hispanic voters that base is smaller than the voting population of other ethnic groups.

34% of the voters who live in majority African American census tracts voted for one of the candidates that didn’t qualify for the runoff, these voters are now coveted by both candidates. Among the voters who live in majority African American census tracts Emanuel’s support is roughly the same regardless of household income. For example the AA voters who live in census tracts with a median HH income between $0 – $20,000 supported him at 42.5% while the AA voters with median HH income between $80,000 – $100,000 supported him at 41.5%. On Tuesday Emanuel won the support of more AA voters than any other candidate and whatever message it was that won him that support seemed to work the same regardless of the voter’s income.

On the other hand, Garcia’s support among the voters who live in majority AA census tracts did vary by income and he had greater support among the more affluent African American voters than the less affluent. For example the AA voters who live in census tracts with a median HH income between $20,000 – $40,000 supported him at 21% while the AA voters with median HH income between $100,000 – $120,000 supported him at 36%. Garcia has two challenges here 1) he earned a greater rate of support among affluent AA voters on Tuesday but the vast majority of the AA voters on Tuesday came from the less affluent census tracts (1/3 of the AA voters came from tracts with median HH income less than $40,000 and 82% less than $60,000) so he’ll have to tailor his persuasive message toward the less affluent if he wants to improve his support rate, and 2) he has a difficult needle to thread in that his best GOTV strategy for the city overall is to focus on voters in < $60,000 census tracts while his best performing AA subsets are the more affluent ones.

Voters in majority white census tracts tended to be somewhat more affluent than their counterparts in majority AA or majority Hispanic census tracts. For example only 7% of voters who live in majority white census tracts had a median HH income under $60,000 whereas 82% of voters who lived in either of AA or Hispanic majority census tracts had a median HH income under $60,000. So voters in majority white census tracts tend towards the higher income brackets compared to their counterparts in AA or Hispanic majority tracts and there is a clear correlation between an increase in income bracket and an increase in support for the Mayor but there is still a ray of hope for Garcia among middle class white voters. A good majority of white voters (59%) live in census tracts with a median HH income between $60,000 – $100,000 and of all of the subsets of white voters this is where Emanuel did the worst, falling just below 50%. Also, even though Fioretti didn’t win much support anywhere this was the subset of voters where he was the strongest. Garcia has the opportunity to make some inroads with middle class white voters.

When I ran the numbers I included data about education as measured by the percentage of people in each census tract that had a bachelor’s degree or higher but I haven’t included this data in this analysis mostly because those numbers track pretty closely to the income bracket numbers. Higher income areas tend to have a higher percentage of college educated people so the conclusions tend to mirror one another.

Election day is a little more than 5 weeks away and in a little more than 3 weeks early voters can start casting ballots again so there isn’t much time to turn out voters and there is even less time to win over new ones. For either campaign to emerge successful they’re going to have to study these data subsets and find their winning formula.

Some More Numbers – Chicago Mayor Race

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Total Votes – Participation Rate:

There has been a lot of attention given to the fact that turnout last night was significantly lower than four years ago, which is true, however that year was a bit of an outlier and this year’s numbers track pretty closely to the 2007 and 2003 Chicago Municipal elections:

Reg Voters Tot Mayor Voters Participation Rate
Feb 2003 1,436,286 463,145 32.25%
Feb 2007 1,407,979 456,765 32.44%
Feb 2011 1,406,037 590,357 41.99%
Feb 2015 1,421,430 466,177 32.80%

With some valid late arriving vote by mail ballots left to be counted the total votes in the Mayor’s race last night currently stands at about 466K (very close to my projection last night) and a participation rate of a little under 33% on about 1.4 million registered voters. You can see that over the last four cycles the number of citywide registered voters has stayed within a band of 30,000 so it’s held pretty flat. The total vote last night held remarkably similar to 2003 and 2007. In other words last night’s election was nothing special, wasn’t a big turnout like 2011 and wasn’t a horrible one either, it just tracked well with other recent elections with an incumbent Mayor.


Projecting April’s Turnout:

Today I saw two schools of thought on the likely turnout for the April runoff: 1) the number of total voters in the Mayor’s race in the April runoff will be lower because a) there aren’t competitive aldermanic elections in every ward, b) some supporters of the candidates that did not qualify for the runoff will not vote and c) election fatigue. The other school of thought is 2) the number of total voters in the Mayor’s race in the April runoff will actually be higher than February because a) with a slimmed down field the campaign coverage will be more focused and more voters will be paying attention, b) the Mayor’s veil of invincibility has been pierced leading some disaffected voters to participate, c) the weather will be better and d) with fewer other races to distract the campaigns or dilute the campaign staffs more people will be working to drive up turnout.

I still tend to believe that the overall number of voters in the Mayor’s race in April will be lower than the total from February but I find the conversation interesting. We don’t have much historical data to work with, there hasn’t been a runoff in the Mayor’s race since the current format was put in place in 1999. However we can look at all of the aldermanic elections that went to runoff in the last three cycles and see how regularly the April runoffs featured more total voters than the February elections:

Year Ward Feb Total Apr Total Diff Diff %
2011 6 15,045 10,114 (4,931) -32.8%
2011 15 7,059 3,550 (3,509) -49.7%
2011 16 6,116 3,654 (2,462) -40.3%
2011 17 9,900 6,063 (3,837) -38.8%
2011 20 7,467 4,518 (2,949) -39.5%
2011 24 9,255 5,490 (3,765) -40.7%
2011 25 8,823 7,291 (1,532) -17.4%
2011 36 14,052 10,074 (3,978) -28.3%
2011 38 12,256 7,880 (4,376) -35.7%
2011 41 20,109 14,458 (5,651) -28.1%
2011 43 14,267 9,644 (4,623) -32.4%
2011 45 15,879 12,136 (3,743) -23.6%
2011 46 13,906 9,967 (3,939) -28.3%
2011 50 11,487 9,698 (1,789) -15.6%
2011 Combined 165,621 114,537 (51,084) -30.8%
2007 2 11,103 9,399 (1,704) -15.3%
2007 3 8,087 8,369 282 3.5%
2007 15 6,046 4,641 (1,405) -23.2%
2007 16 6,104 5,278 (826) -13.5%
2007 18 13,228 8,970 (4,258) -32.2%
2007 21 14,096 10,563 (3,533) -25.1%
2007 24 8,421 6,416 (2,005) -23.8%
2007 32 8,107 8,237 130 1.6%
2007 35 6,561 6,543 (18) -0.3%
2007 43 9,307 8,321 (986) -10.6%
2007 49 7,441 7,803 362 4.9%
2007 50 10,489 11,325 836 8.0%
2007 Combined 108,990 95,865 (13,125) -12.0%
2003 1 6,930 9,007 2,077 30.0%
2003 6 12,686 9,354 (3,332) -26.3%
2003 15 6,048 4,450 (1,598) -26.4%
2003 21 13,451 11,902 (1,549) -11.5%
2003 Combined 39,115 34,713 (4,402) -11.3%

Looking at the table above the general expectation for an aldermanic runoff is the April election will have fewer total votes than the February election, in fact the average for the 14 aldermanic runoffs of 2011 was about 31% lower (12% lower on average in 2007 and 11% lower on average in 2003). There are a few exceptions of course but it’s clear that April just has a lower participation rate.

However I would caution these totals are just for downballot aldermanic races. A runoff in a Mayor’s race is likely to lead most newscasts over the next 6 weeks. You’ll also see plenty of broadcast TV ads and heavy mail and likely phone calls or door knocks. The level of attention given to this runoff will be very different from these past aldermanic runoffs. No matter what your preferred theory is for turnout in April I don’t think the data rules out any possibility.