Feb. 12 2014 12:00 AM

Does geography matter more than party affiliation?

2014-02-12 16.10.04
Snapshot of an American Federation of Teachers mailer

Vince Vasquez, senior policy analyst at the National University System Institute for Policy Research, put together a couple of maps this morning showing how folks voted in yesterday's mayoral election. The maps, below, show a pretty clear geographic divide, with voters who live north of I-8 favoring Kevin Faulconer, while voters in San Diego's urban core and neighborhoods of color preferring David Alvarez. 

Shortly after he posted the maps, Vasquez tweeted that, for him, they confirm that "geography is a better indicator of voting behavior than political party." ---

"You don't think political party determines geography?" I tweeted back—meaning, just as big cities lean Democrat, a city's urban core will be more liberal than its suburbs. 

"Party still matters," Vasquez responded, "but it's not determinative in how local non-partisan elections are decided. IMO."

San Diego's got a Democratic voter-registration advantage (265,357 registered Democrats, 176,009 Republicans and 191,336 decline-to-state). Though San Diego City Council and mayoral races are ostensibly nonpartisan, party affiliation always comes in to play. Committees supporting Alvarez, for instance, tried to drive home the fact that Faulconer's a Republican (the photo to the left is from an American Federation of Teachers mailer), while Faulconer's supporters portrayed him as a social liberal and fiscal conservative.

"The Democratic Party is a party of coalitions and they vote in different ways," Vasquez told me in a phone interview. "The ones who are older"—and who tend to live North of the I-8—"have been voting for Republican mayors for decades."

Voice of San Diego's Scott Lewis has a good piece questioning whether Alvarez went too far to the left. It'll be something for the Democratic Party to consider in the elections for North-of-8 Council Districts 2 and 6 where Democrats Sarah Boot and Carol Kim are going up against Republicans Lorie Zapf and Chris Cate.

Another issue, of course, is turnout. Low turnout favors Republicans. The Registrar of Voters has an unofficial breakdown of voter turnout by City Council districts on Page 41 of this report. It's grim: 

District 1—La Jolla, University City, Carmel Valley (Democrat*): 40.25 percent

District 2—Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, Point Loma (Republican): 39.32 percent

District 3—Downtown, Hillcrest, North Park, Normal Heights, Mission Hills, South Park, Golden Hill (Democrat): 37.21 percent

District 4—Mountain View, Lincoln Park, Skyline, Encanto, Paradise Hills, Oak Park (Democrat): 31.43 percent

District 5—Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Penasquitos, Scripps Ranch, Sabre Springs, Black Mountain Ranch (Republican): 44.54 percent

District 6—Mira Mesa, Kearny Mesa, Clairemont (Republican): 39.39 percent

District 7—Del Cerro, Linda Vista, Mission Valley, Tierrasanta, Serra Mesa (Republican): 43.15 percent

District 8—Barrio Logan, Logan Heights, Sherman Heights, San Ysidro, Otay Mesa (Democrat): 29.31 percent

District 9—City Heights, College Area, Talmadge, Kensington, Southcrest, Mountain View (Democrat): 28.98 percent

* Party affiliation of the current council member.  

 

 

 


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