District Voting Patterns
By Edwin D. Reilly, Jr.
For the Sunday Gazette
politics is local.”
Given that the recount in Ohio
did not change it
from red to blue and the (Barbara) Boxer Rebellion failed, the
Presidential election is now
over. The result has been analyzed and reanalyzed to the point where it
known that the earliest analyses were wrong. To the nation’s credit,
up in all categories, but the percentage of voters who are evangelical
Christians was slightly lower, not higher, than in 2000. And the
Hispanics who voted for the President was not nearly so close to 45% as
first reported. As even Pat Buchanan has predicted, it is only a matter
before Arizona, Nevada,
turn blue. New Mexico
is already purple.
coloring is way overdone. Millions of people who live in blue states
the President, and millions who live in red states voted for Senator
This election, as many do, came down to personalities. Certainly
if issued mattered, the Senator would have won handily, and neither
party has a
monopoly on moral values. But more voters liked Mr. Bush
that’s what counted.
statistical analysis that holds up is the geographical one. The
only those states that contain one or more large cities that can
suburbs and “exurbs,” towns in a second ring around cities, further out
mere suburbs. And the same is true at the county level. Since most
the country do not contain a city of significant size, it is no wonder
Bush won so many of them. But did
that national pattern hold true in our Capital District? Let’s take a
expected, John Kerry won the City of Schenectady
quite handily, 60% to 40%. The closest thing we have to exurbs,
Princetown, were strongly for Bush. And Bush won small pluralities in
the three large towns, Glenville and Rotterdam,
by close margins, 52% and 51% respectively.
But the Democratic bastion of Niskayuna
went for Kerry 57% to 43%, a borderline landslide. More remarkably,
carried all 20 of the town’s voting districts. The net result was that
Senator carried the county 53% to 47%, the city and one large town
the other four municipalities. This fits the national pattern for
having at least one city of significant size.
only one voting machine malfunction that affected the county total. In
district of the city, the machine tally had Bush beating Kerry 183 to
Republican to Democrat, with Kerry receiving an additional 17 votes on
Working Family Party line. Comparison to the results in all other
indicate that the hundreds digit at one location on this machine was
broken, accepting neither a carry nor a Kerry, thus depriving the
Senator of 200
votes. Ironically, the 35th district is
centered on Pennsylvania
true to form, voted heavily for Kerry
by a 4 to 1 margin, 80% to 20%. The much smaller cities of Cohoes and
Watervliet also voted for Kerry,
but not that strongly.
> But where in the
is there a suburb similar to Niskayuna?
of course. Its
people voted for Kerry even more decisively, 59% to 41%. And this in a
where, almost yesterday it seems, local pundits were amusing themselves
us that “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem” was the only town or city in his
congressional district that failed to vote for Sam Stratton. Kerry did
hair (of his many) less well in Guilderland, winning that town 58% to
the big surprise to me was that Kerry also won Colonie, a town that has
elected a single Democrat to its Town Board in its entire history, 54%
to 46%. And Kerry won New Scotland, too,
55% to 45%. Except,
perhaps, for its small hill
County has no
exurbs, so Kerry easily
won this strongly Democratic county.
results fit the national profile for counties like it, with the cities
of Troy and Rensselaer
outvoting its other municipalities 51% to 49%, Kerry over Bush. East
which Kerry won decisively, was that county’s Niskayuna.
Bush won the other two large towns, Brunswick
and North Greenbush, by close margins
several sparsely populated exurbs by large margins.
is a traditionally Republican county because its
only “large” city, Saratoga Springs, is
than it largest town, Clifton
carried the Springs, 57% to 43%, and lost Clifton Park
by only 52% to 48%, but the county’s smaller suburbs and its many
heavily enough for the President to give him a comfortable county
with the national pattern, the Democratic candidate for President tends
only those counties whose city populations comprise at least 40% of the
county and whose inner ring of suburbs account for at least another
Density matters. Acreage doesn’t vote, people do.
Republicans like elbow room. Democrats like to rub elbows.
Reilly, Jr., a dark horse candidate for Chairman of
the National Democratic Party, lives in Niskayuna.
Postscript of 6/9/2007:
Well, at least I was pleased that the candidate I favored to be
Democratic nominee, Howard Dean, became and still is our national