Top level analysis of Nov 2010 Idaho vote
Next week the Board of Canvassers will certify the election results and then we will have some precinct level data to study and help ascertain reasons for the coarse-grained information on some of the big races. Here are four charts to digest.
Despite a mixed record of performance Gov. Otter was reelected with a record number of votes, even higher than the landslide numbers piled up by Gov. Kempthorne in 1998. Otter’s 60 percent re-elect still pales to the standard of Cecil Andrus in 1974 and 1990, Ruthian type numbers that will not likely be equalled.
Despite favorable trends in Democratic votes the past six or eight years Allred was unable to hold to a common pattern of outperforming the Democratic Presidential nominee two years previous. Only in 1998 did the Democratic Gubernatorial candidate not do as well as the Democratic Presidential candidate two years previous.
Despite all the advantages of incumbency such as mega dollars for campaigns Walt Minnick not only lost his reelection to Raul Labrador, he was also unable to equal the total votes earned by his predecessor Larry Grant four years prior. Grant was underfunded in his challenge for the open seat in 2006, won that year by Bill Sali, but Grant won more votes than an incumbent Minnick.
One underlying dynamic of the election was, on a statewide basis, voter turnout did not increase over that from 2006, despite an electorate that is 100,000 larger (voting age population). The state grew in population, there was a record turnout in 2008 and lots of new voters. Yet turnout statewide the number of votes appears only a few thousand higher than 2006. And the last chart shows when you drill down into Ada County that turnout in the 1st Congressional District did increase but was offset by a decrease in the 2nd Cong. District.
Contested races (like the 1st District) draw more voters, but the lack of a Democratic ground campaign in the 2nd District of Ada County, which is demonstrably a Democratic stronghold, seems to have resulted in a rather meager turnout. We’ll look more into this next week.