Turner-Weprin Race – Who Voted?

The New York voter files have now been updated to include the information on who voted in the Special Election in the 9th Congressional District.


I thought it would be a good idea to compare who voted in the Special that elected Republican Bob Turner to all registered voters in the 9th This data will give us a good idea how turnout of different groups affected the results.


Note that the percentages of the various listed ethnic groups are based on the Prime New York ethnic dictionary and are not 100% accurate. For example, the Jewish percent is certainly higher than I list because of names like Miller, Green and others that can be Jewish but are not flagged as such. But this should not affect the overall analysis as the same names will be missed in all three cases.


                                    All Voters         2011 Voters


Democrats                    57.7%              62%

Republicans                  18.3%              22.6%

Blanks                          21.3%              12.2%

Age 65+                       26%                 41%

Women                        55%                 54%

Asian                            9%                   5%

Hispanic                       12%                 6%

Jewish                          23%                 33%

Brooklyn                      30%                 32%

Queens                         70%                 68%

24 AD (Weprin’s)        6%                   6%

23 Council (Weprin’s) 4%                    4%


The Party breakdowns were, at first, surprising to me. I thought that a reason that Turner might have won was because demoralized Democrats voted at lower rates than usual while energized Republicans voted at higher rates. That’s what happened in most places in 2010. But the numbers show that both Democrats & Republicans were a higher percentage of the vote than they are overall or were in 2010.


It’s those not enrolled in a Party that decided not to vote. This is consistent with what most of us experienced in politics feel about these voters. Rather than the thoughtful, actively engaged moderates that various centrist pundits proclaim they are, most voters don’t enroll in a Party because they are voters least interested in politics.


So it was deserting Democrats who beat Weprin as the combined vote of all the Republicans & other non-Democrats voting wasn’t enough to elect anyone.


The one number that jumped out to me was the percentage of seniors who voted – they were 41% of the vote as opposed to 26% of all voters.


Once again, most pols know that seniors vote in greater numbers than others but such a big jump surprised me and it’s quite likely that it was these older voters, angry with the Obama administration about Medicare or Israel were the keys to Turner’s win.


The only other relative large discrepancy was the lower turnout of both Hispanic & Asian surnamed voters and the higher turnout of Jewish surnamed voters. This really means the Jewish vote dropped less than the Hispanics & Asian vote.


In theory, the drop in the Hispanic & Asian vote could have made a difference. If the same number of Hispanics & Asians voted in 2011 as did in the 2010, the total number of additional votes was almost twice Turner’s margin of victory. But that’s just a theory and it assumes that the missing Hispanics & Asians would have voted overwhelmingly for Weprin.


I’m sure Gatemouth & others may have some additional thoughts on the above and I eagerly await reading them.