A Belated Report on the 2013 NYC Primary Electorate

It’s a little late but I wasn’t able to really dig deeply into the NYC Primary numbers until recently, so here’s some of what I found by matching the 2013 Primary voter history to the Prime New York Voter File.

A Surprisingly Large Number of Non-Prime Democrats Voted

I have to thank an unsuccessful City Council who told me that he suspected a reason for his defeat was that Democrats who were not expected to vote in this year’s Primary came out and voted. I told him what I got the data, I would investigate. After doing so, I think he’s right and I think the citywide data is pretty interesting also.

640,869 Democrats voted in the September Primary. I compared these voters to those who voted in other recent Primaries.

243,815 of them voted in the 2009 Citywide Primary & 159,753 voted in the 2009 Runoff.

235,084 voted in the 2010 Statewide Primary.

Only 391,126 or 61% of the 2013 Primary voters voted in any Primary or Runoff between 2009 and 2012, meaning 249,743 did not and were not considered Prime Democrats by most this year.

Conversely, of the 639,119 Democrats on our voter file who voted in any Primary or Runoff between 2009 and 2012, 247,993, almost the same number, did not in this year’s Primary.

Let’s Examine the Non-Prime Democrats Who Voted

Some of the 249,743 unexpected Primary voters (but not many) couldn’t because of their age or registration status.

6% registered after the 2012 Primary so could not have voted in a previous Primary & 13% registered after the 2010 Primary so could not have voted in only 1 to 3 previous Primaries.

10% are under the age of 30, so were limited in the number Primaries they were eligible for.

So who are these surprise Prime voters and how do they compare to the other 2013 Primary voters?

The exit polls say 28% of the Primary voters were Black, 18% Hispanic, 5% were Asian & 19% Jewish.

The ethnic counts of the non-Primes who voted based on the ethnic dictionary on our voter file are @30%, @20% Hispanic, @4% Asian & @14% Jewish - not a major difference.

61% of the non-Prime Primary voters were Women, while according to the exit polls, 54% of all Primary voters were, which is significant

And only 20% of the non-Prime Primary voters were age 65+, while 40% of the overall Primary voters were – a major difference!

Where Do They Live?

Looking at the vote by City Council District helps explain what motivated a large number of the new Primary voters.

The district with the most new voters – 11,274 or 38% of the turnout is the 6th CCD.  It’s the district of Gale Brewer, who was running for Manhattan Borough President & Scott Stringer, our next Comptroller and had a bunch of well financed Council candidates running to succeed Brewer.

Number 3 is 35 CCD, the home district of Public Advocate-Elect Leticia James, with 8,571 voters or 40% of the district turnout.

Numbers 3 & 4 are the 3rd CCD, Christine Quinn’s & the 39nd CCD, Mayor-Elect de Blasio’s old district, while the 6th is Councilwoman Jessica Lappin’s (an unsuccessful Borough President candidate)

All of the above makes sense as the local candidates running for higher office are often a reason for increased turnout.

The 5th district, though, is a puzzler. It’s the 12th CCD in the Northeast Bronx, represented by Andy King, who did not have a serious Primary contest or any favorite sons or daughters running for higher office. 

The 4 districts with the fewest number of new Primary voters largely make sense also.

Heading the rear is the 20th CD in Queens. That’s John Liu’s old district and only 1,920 new voters came out. I believe that because Liu’s historic victory in 2009 was responsible for virtually every voter in has base voting that year.

The next 3 are Districts 30(Elizabeth Crowley), 32 (Eric Ulrich), & 48 (soon to be Chaim Deutsch). These are the districts which the highest percentage of conservative voters in the City, outside of Staten Island and a large percentage of Democrats didn’t like anyone running in the Primary.

The 5th is a little more surprising, it’s 29 CCD, the Central Queens district represented by Karen Koslowitz.  This is partially explained by Koslowitz not having a Primary opponent.

What Happened in the Runoff?

There were no published exit polls for the Runoff between Leticia James & Dan Squadron, so let’s look at what the Prime New York Voter File says about the 188,644 voters.

Women comprised @61% of the vote and voters age 65+ were @42%. Voters under 40 were just under 10% of the vote, while they are @28% of all registered Democrats.

The ethnic breakdowns show @37% were Black, @10% Hispanic, @22% Jewish & @3% Asian.

BTW, in the 2009 Runoff won by John Liu, @10% of voters were Asian!

88,564 of the 2013 Runoff voters also voted in the 2009 Runoff, meaning just over 100,000 didn’t, so it was a much different electorate.

Interestingly, 19,661 voted in the Runoff but not 3 weeks earlier in the higher turnout Primary. Some were busy, ill or out of town that day but most, I think, were somehow motivated to vote for Public Advocate.

Not surprisingly, Leticia James Council District had the 2nd highest turnout of Runoff voters and was the only Council District where over 1,000 voted in the Runoff but not the Primary.

Dan Squadron’s Senate District had the 5th highest turnout of Runoff voters.

And Now, the Republicans

There were also no published exit polls for the Republican Primary, so we’ll again use the Prime New York Voter File and examine the 64,472 voters.

Women comprised @50% of the vote and voters age 65+ were @43%.

As might be expected, the ethnic breakdowns were much different than with Democrats, with @20% Italian, @8% Irish, @7% Black and @12% Jewish.  Two groups that were close among Dem & GOP Primary voter were the @10% Hispanic and the @4% Asian.

No one will be surprised to see that the 2 City Council Districts with the highest Primary turnout were the Republican held districts on Staten Island but the 3rd highest is the bastion of liberal Republicans, the 4th on Manhattan’s East Side, represented by Dan Gardodnick.

As with the Democrats, I compared these Republican voters to those who voted in other GOP Primaries.

Because there haven’t been as many, I went further back in years

20,668 of the 2013 Primary voters voted in the last Citywide Primary in 2001, when Mike Bloomberg beat Herman Badillo.

13,385 voted in the 2012 Statewide Primary for Senate & 14,716 voted in that year’s Presidential Primary.

The largest number of previous Primary voters voted in 2010 Paladino-Lazio Primary.

Only 15,346 or 23% of the 2013 Primary voters never voted in any Primary 2001 and 2012.

Next Year, the Report on the General

Watch this space, as I’m waiting for the General Election voter history to be added to the voter file.