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17Nov/112

Election ’11: Mapping the At Large 5 Results

No doubt, this is the most bi-polar map we'll see for the 2011 election in Houston. There's a lot of ways to interpret this and I think it's very possible to look at the results for this contest and conclude that either JoJo or Christie has a leg up for the runoff.

Historically, African-American precincts are better at coming back out for the runoff than GOP voters who may look at city government as something void of opportunity for expressing their worldview. Turnout in this round was pretty close between westside GOP and southside Afr-Am precincts. I'd expect turnout to be good for the latter and drop off a bit for the former when December 10 rolls around. The runoff in District B on the northside certainly doesn't hurt JoJo one bit, either.

But one characteristic of this contest is that it had the lowest dropoff of all the At Large contests. People weren't lacking for an opinion on this contest and JoJo's starting point this time around is lower than it was going into the runoff in 2009. She didn't have much margin for error this time and the first glance looks like she's dipped below whatever that margin was.

All that said, it'll be the Anglo Dem areas that determine this outcome. JoJo got some high-40s in Montrose that will turn into 70-75% wins in December. But her performance in Meyerland/Westbury was in the low-to-mid 20s while Jack Christie rarely broke 40%. In the Heights, JoJo was in the mid-30s, typically leading Christie by a slight amount. In Hispanic areas, the pattern is similar, with JoJo ahead and likely to pull out a win in a head-to-head contest with Christie. It's basically the same exact pattern as 2009 for this election. Whoever wins those probably wins the election. Alterations in turnout may be a complicating factor, though. Christie's best bet seems to be that Anglo GOP voters are motivated for a December election - and probably moreso to vote against JoJo than for Christie.

So factoring all that in, my sense from looking at a few of the neighborhoods and specific precinct returns is a bit more optimistic for identifying a path for JoJo winning this contest and Kristi Thibaut winning the AL2 runoff. Both should be close, though.


full page - Google Earth

Color-coding:
dark blue - 65% or more Jolanda Jones
blue - 55-65% Jolanda Jones
light blue - 50-55% Jolanda Jones
purple - 45-50% Jolanda Jones
pink - 35-45% Jolanda Jones
red - 0-35% Jolanda Jones

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  1. To my surprise, there is an undercurrent of hard right activists who are backing Jolanda Jones based on her Prop 1 position, her feistiness against the mayor, whom many dislike for tax and lifestyle reasons, and in a few cases, social conservative elements who have arcane disputes with Christie relating to school curriculum issues (maybe teaching evolution?) from his State Board of Education service. Politics makes strange bedfellows, as they say. I still think Christie will win, but if this drift within GOP/tea party ranks gains steam, Jones could pull a stronger victory than I would have imagined.

  2. It’s interesting to watch for. My hunch is that for all the activists that are willing to make for strange bedfellows, the overwhelming majority of voters won’t follow. I think the difference in support for Mayor Parker was more indicative of the split you describe. But I think that split only exists on the “generic” level. Once you start attaching real candidates with real names and real baggage, things change. If I see either Pct. 130 or 262 go for JoJo, maybe I’ll be a believer.


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