Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Predictions vs. Reality for District 9 Race

Before the polls closed, I made a series of predictions about the Allston-Brighton District 9 City Councilor race.

How did I do?

Order of finishers. Prediction: Mark Ciommo -- Alex Selvig -- Abigail Furey -- Benjamin Narodick. Reality: same.

Overall percentage of vote. Prediction: 60%-20%-18%-2%. Reality: 60%-23%-13%-3%. I predicted a closer race for second place between Selvig and Furey, but otherwise my numbers were amazingly close. Almost too close. Dumb luck?

Many of the next predictions had more to do with the race between Selvig and Furey for second place.

Boston College Neighbors Vote. Prediction: Furey would edge Selvig in Selvig's home precinct (ward 22, precinct 8). Reality: Wrong. Selvig took 22/8 strongly this time around with 114 votes, Ciommo second with 95, and Furey a distant third with 58. Brighton Neighbors United leaned Selvig.

Elderly and Jewish Vote Leftovers. Prediction: Furey would pick up votes over Selvig in 22/9 (which includes orthodox Jewish community and more BNU) and add more scraps left over by Ciommo from the Russian Jewish elderly vote in 21/13 (Wallingford Road). Reality: yes, but only a few votes. Similarly positive results for Furey in 21/12 (Patricia White elderly apartments) and 21/16.

Comm Ave Corridor.
Prediction: Selvig would pick up votes along the Comm Ave corridor in ward 21 (precincts 3-9), but only a handful in these low-turnout precincts. Reality: Selvig netted 99 more votes than Furey in those eight precincts -- a dozen votes per precinct on average. Outliers: Selvig picked up most of that difference in precincts 6 and 7 (Union Square and Ringer Park neighborhoods with more longer-term residential housing stock).

Oak Square and Faneuil. Prediction: Ciommo rolls over the competition picking up many votes, with Selvig and Furey splitting the scraps. Reality: Ciommo did just that in his base. The surprise was how much better Selvig did than Furey in ward 22 precincts 7 and 10 (Oak Square), 4 and 13 (outer Oak Square), and 11 and 12 (Faneuil), netting 87 votes over Furey in Oak Square, 100 votes in outer Oak Square, and another 42 in Faneuil. Furey got beat two-to-one in her home ward 22 precinct 4.

North Allston. Prediction: North Allston would provide Selvig with the big boost to give him the edge over Furey. Reality: ward 22 precincts 1, 2, and 5 gave Selvig 154 more votes than Furey, a nice boost. But in looking back it was the Oak Square area that gave Selvig an even bigger boost than North Allston.

Turnout. I predicted 12% turnout, but the vigorous mayoral campaign brought Allston-Brighton turnout up to 16.4% (according to my estimates). I am surprised by the higher turnout, since I expected that the voting rolls would not be fully purged of short-term young voters -- many of whom move on September 1st and thus get deleted from the voting rolls -- who registered locally for last year's presidential election.

There were, in fact, 6.6% more District 9 registered voters in the 2009 preliminary municipal election than in the same election in September 2007.

Left-over presidential election registered voters who don't bother with municipal elections should push the turnout numbers lower, but 16.4% turnout is significantly higher than two years ago (12.5%). That's overall a good sign for civic engagement.

No comments: