Sunday, January 25, 2009

Comparing and Contrasting English Only Voting to General Election Voting in My Precinct

According to Election Commission stats, turn-out in the 15th Avenue Baptist Church precinct to vote last November was up around 70%.  This week's English Only referendum only motivated a little under 13% of the voters here to turn out.  Assuming that voting for Barack Obama and voting against English Only are progressive ballots:  Obama garnered over 90% of the presidential votes cast (1,525) in my precinct; 77% of the votes cast (239) last week went against English Only.

It is no surprise to me that only a fraction of the registered voters who turned out to vote in November came back out in January to vote in the special election.  That fact places some limits on whether we can judge that my precinct is as progressive as it is Democratic and Obama-leaning. It is clear that an overwhelming majority of those voting here broke against English Only at a rate somewhat less than they broke for Obama in November.  This precinct is predominantly African American.  There is no indication from the numbers we have that competition or tension between African Americans and the Hispanic community had any effect on the vote against English Only.

Given both sets of results, I would call my precinct strongly progressive (its Democratic leanings were self-evident in November).

UPDATE:  Compare my precinct to one in far northwest, less urban Davidson County, Joelton Elementary. In the Joelton precinct, 70% of the registered voters voted in November. That's well short of the 90% who showed up in my urban precinct, but it is still an impressive number. Almost 27% showed up to vote in the special election, effectively doubling the rate at 15th Avenue Baptist Church here in the North End. However, more voters turned out here (309) than in Joelton (195). In November, only 40% of those voting at Joelton Elementary cast their votes for Obama. Last week only 31% cast their votes against English Only. Hence, Joelton is more conservative with regard to voting for Obama and opposing English Only.  However, Joelton Elementary voters did not favor Obama's Republican opponent (John McCain won 58% of the vote) at the same rate that they favored English Only (almost 70%). The Joelton precinct is more Republican than my precinct is, but it looks like on English Only it trends more highly conservative than it does Republican (adding the caveat that lower January turnout may also make a difference to this interpretation).

No comments:

Post a Comment