Thursday, May 17, 2007

Your Money Or Your Vote: Citywide voting patterns in the May 2007 Denver municipal election

Did you vote for the mayor? If you've got a nice income and live in a wealthy neighborhood, odds are that you did.

Truth be told, the odds are that you voted for the mayor no matter where you live. It's just that folks in wealthy neighborhoods tended to support him more heavily than folks in poorer neighborhoods.
That dynamic wasn't true of all incumbents. Auditor Dennis Gallagher, for instance, seemed to do best with the middle class.
And then there were challengers like Carol Campbell, candidate for City Council At Large. She did considerably better among the poorer neighborhoods.
Talk of an uninterested electorate this year thus speaks more to the interests of the wealthy than of the poor. Poorer neighborhoods naturally were far more interested in change. Thankfully for incumbents, the rich vote more often and thus get the final word.

Note: for this study, year 2000 census figures were used. The average income in 16 neighborhoods was less than $40,000 per year in income; 15 averaged between $40,000 and $49,999; 13 averaged between $50,000 and $69,999; and 11 were above $70,000.

1 comment:

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

An alternate way to explain the data is that the likelihood of a voter to vote may be independent of neighborhood and solely dependent upon income. In that interpretation, areas with fewer high income people have lower turnout, because people who are likely to vote are more scarce.

If true, this implies that high income people in poor neighborhoods want change; while high income people in high income neighborhoods are satisfied. Both reactions, of course, are logical.

Campbell support then, would be traceable to high income people in the low income West side from which she hails (i.e. gentrifiers).

This makes more sense than the theory that Campbell support is primarily from low income voters in low income neighborhoods, as her campaign focused on trying to have more code enforcement targeted at low income voters in low income neighborhoods.

Of course, the data isn't sufficient to give an answer one way or the other.