On turnout and enthusiasm

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Null Space turnout graphic

Good number-crunching on the mayoral primary already this morning from the two Chrises.

Yesterday's battle was the most wide-open since 1989 when five candidates (including Tom Murphy and Tom Flaherty) fought over a nomination secured by then-acting Mayor Sophie Masloff. But turnout/interest in the mayor's race has plummeted since a generation ago, as Pitt's Chris Briem writes (that's his graphic above):

But for the long term perspective, I know 24 years ago is ancient history to many but in 1989 110K folks voted in the primary for mayor.  That is not a reflection of population loss.  Total population loss in the city of Pittsburgh since 1989 is around -18%, but the decline in ballots between 1989 and 2013 primaries looks to be -59%.  Big difference.

Here is the trend and note the 2007 race was completely uncontested. There was not a lot to motivate showing up to vote at all.

At City Paper, Chris Potter says Bill Peduto enjoyed an enthusiasm gap over Jack Wagner, piling up huge margins in his East End home base while voters were lax in the South Hills:

There were other signs of an enthusiasm gap. In Ward 14, I count nearly 7,500 Democratic voters casting a ballot yesterday. That's an increase of about 20 percent from the 2009 mayoral primary. Meanwhile, in Ward 19, roughly 200 fewer Democratic voters turned up when compared to 2009. This despite the fact that a native son was on the ballot -– one who would have been the first mayor ever elected from the South Hills.

City Paper comes out Wednesday morning and is printed before Tuesday polls close. Here's their latest hysterical cover re: the mayor's race:


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