Citywide voter turnout in presidential elections has increased significantly in the last 8 years, from 188K in 2000 to 203K in 2004 to 234K in 2008. The biggest increases are in non-white / liberal-voting neighborhoods like Chinatown (up 95% since 2000), Grove Hall (up 60% since 2000), and Fields Corner (up 56% since 2000). The smallest increases are in white / conservative-voting neighborhoods like West Roxbury (up 4% since 2000), Readville (up 7% since 2000), and south-white Dorchester (up 12% since 2000).
The range of neighborhood turnouts is relatively small. The highest-turnout neighborhoods are only turning out about 20%-40% more than the lowest-turnout neighborhoods. In low-turnout elections like odd-year city elections, the range can be 200%-300%. The lesson here: the higher the overall turnout, the better it is for non-white / liberal candidates.
These results follow similar trends in lower-turnout elections for state and local offices. This is encouraging news for non-white / liberal candidates who can now run in elections that are no longer dominated by white-conservative voters.
Candidate / Ballot Question Summary
Barak Obama got 79% of the votes in Boston. He got 95%+ of the votes in high non-white neighborhoods like Roxbury, Mattapan, Grove Hall, and the Blue Hill Avenue / Washington Street Corridor. He got about 60% of the vote in high white neighborhoods like South Boston, West Roxbury, Readville, and south-white Dorchester.
The No on Question 1 vote (to keep the state income tax) got 71% of the votes. The range was not as large as in the presidential race. It did best in liberal-voting neighborhoods like Jamaica Plain (81%), Melville Park / Ashmont Hill (77%) and Mattapan (76%). It did worst in high-income white neighborhoods like Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and the West End (about 64%), but these numbers are still pretty high.
The Yes on Question 2 vote (to decriminalize pot) got 65% of the votes. It did best student neighborhoods like Allston, Brighton, the Fenway and also in liberal-voting ones like Jamaica Plain and the South End (70% – 74%). It did worst in a mix of neighborhoods like Chinatown, East Boston, Hyde Park, West Roxbury, and south-white Dorchester (54% – 58%).