2009 BOSTON ELECTION RESULTS
Here is my first take on the results of the turnout and Mayor’s race in the Boston 2009 general election. I summarize the results from a neighborhood perspective, not by wards, since almost everyone can identify with a neighborhood name more easily than a ward number.
Here’s a link to the turnout counts and rates by neighborhood.
– The overall turnout was 111K voters. This is 39% of active voters and 31% of all voters (active + inactive). This is a 29K increase (36%) over the 2009 Primary, and a 14K increase (14%) over the 2005 General.
– Turnout had the usual distribution of whiter neighborhoods turning out better than liberal-voting and non-white neighborhoods. Turnout was highest in Readville (62%), southern-white Dorchester (56%), and West Roxbury (54%). Turnout was lowest in Allston (21%), Fenway (25%), and Back Bay (27%).
– There was a 10 percentage point increase in turnout from the Primary to the General (39% vs. 28%). The increase was larger in the whitest neighborhoods. The biggest increases were in Readville (+17 points) ,West Roxbury (+15 points), and Charlestown, Beacon Hill, southern-white Dorchester (all +13 points). The lowest increases were in Chinatown(+5 points), Allston (+6 points), and Brighton, Grove Hall (+8 points).
* This is somewhat surprising, since there is generally a “liberal/non-white surge” in the General compared to the Primary. I expected the increases in the white-liberal and non-white neighborhoods to be relatively larger. Maybe Flaherty was better at turning out his base here, and/or maybe Menino was trying to pull out more votes in the white neighborhoods???
* The South Boston (Flaherty’s home) change was 10 percentage points. The Readville (Menino’s home) was 17 points. Perhaps some South Boston voters were not too excited by the Flaherty-Yoon alliance???
– This was the most contested mayor’s race in Boston since 1993, when Menino was elected to an open seat after Ray Flynn left. The turnout was 112K in the primary and 118K in the general.
The Mayor’s Race:
Here’s a link to the mayoral candidate results by neighborhood.
– Menino beats Flaherty 57% to 42%, a gap of 15 points. The gap in the primary was 26 points (50% vs. 24%). So Flaherty closed the gap by 12 points. I’ll explain below how did he do that.
– Menino did best in his home turf of Hyde Park and Readville with 75% of the vote. He also did well in the least-white neighborhoods like Mattapan and parts of Dorchester (90+% non-white population) with 70% – 75% of the votes there. He also did well in large neighborhoods like Roxbury (67%), Roslindale (62%), East Boston (60%), West Roxbury (58%),
– Flaherty was strongest in the whitest neighborhoods. Outside of South Boston (69%), he got 50% – 55% of the vote in Charlestown, and the white parts of Dorchester. He got less than 20% – 30% in the least-white neighborhoods. He also did very well in the white, liberal-voting neighborhoods like Jamaica Plain, South End, Back Bay, and Beacon Hill with 50% – 55% of the vote.
So what happened between the Primary and the General? Where did the Yoon votes go?
* Menino gained 6.6 percentage points (57% vs. 50%) while Flaherty gained 18.3 percentage points (42% vs. 24%) in the General vs. Primary. So Flaherty improved by 12 percentage points more than Menino city-wide.
* The best increases for Flaherty vs. Menino came from white-liberal voting neighborhoods like Fenway (26 points), Jamaica Plain (23 points), Allston / Back Bay (22 points), Beacon Hill (20 points), and South End (18%). These neighborhoods are were Yoon did best in the Primary.
* The worst improvements for Flaherty vs. Menino came from his Menino’s home neighborhood – Readville (0 points) and Hyde Park (4 points), and also West Roxbury (2 points), South Boston (2 points), and southern-white Dorchester (4 points).
* The non-white neighborhoods came out in the middle for Flaherty vs. Menino, in the 10 – 16 point range.
So it looks like the Flaherty-Yoon ticket idea had the result of:
* Boosting Flaherty in the white-liberal-voting neighborhoods by giving better him “liberal credentials”.
* Didn’t make much difference in the non-white neighborhoods.
* Hurting Flaherty in the white-conservative-voting neighborhoods.
* The 29K new voters in the General vs. Primary came somewhat more from white-conservative-voting neighborhoods than I expected. If I had to guess, I’d say it was the Menino machine pulling out voters there, not the Flaherty machine. Any insiders know the strategy?
* All make sense??
– % Turnouts based on active voter count unless otherwise noted.
– Numbers may not add up to 100% due to rounding issues.
– In the interest of making public records more public and elections more transparent, here’s a link to the raw precinct results in a spreadsheet format.