Decision 2013: An early look at voter turnout

Traditionally,  primary elections are about high-propensity voters, and this primary will be no different. That favors the Republican, because history shows GOP voters are more reliable voters than Democrats and decline-to-state voters.

The mail ballots bear this out. As of Sunday,

  • 131,000 mail ballots had been returned.
  • 46% were Republican
  • 35% were Democrat
  • 27% were Decline to State.

Vince Vasquez is the Senior Policy Analyst at National University's Institute for Policy Research. He analyzes election returns, and sees Republican Kevin Faulconer as a shoe in to get in the runoff.

“They didn't come in as high as we thought they would,” he says about the voter turnout, “but looking at the candidates, Nathan Fletcher as well as Kevin Faulconer represent neighborhoods that have been some of the highest-turnout neighborhoods.

“This is a race for second place, and it's a race that's coming down to the wire. Kevin Faulconer has already secured enough support to go to a runoff – it's not enough to win an outright majority, so this definitely will go to a runoff.”

Primaries and special elections are mostly about high-propensity voters. The candidates already know their base voters, and Faulconer has enough to survive.

It's a little more dicey for Democrats David Alvarez and Nathan Fletcher, because the Democrats are split.

“All eyes are on Alvarez and Fletcher campaigns” says Vasquez, “making sure that what they do, they have what it takes to get out the vote, to really encourage those voters they've already identified as their supporters to actually cast their ballots.”

The candidates spent the weekend in the neighborhoods, walking precincts, and trolling for votes. At their respective headquarters, phone calls by the thousands are being made to push voter turnout.

While most of the votes case will be north of Highway 8, the race for #2 may be determined south of the 8, where voter turnout is low, and comes in late.

“We do see a lot of Alvarez vote coming in late and that could make it a late night for everybody,” continues Vasquez. “The turnout could come out to be something where the difference between Alvarez and Fletcher is a matter of a few thousand votes.”

Nathan Fletcher has broad name recognition and has been endorsed by big-name Latino elected officials and city unions. On the other hand, Alvarez has the Democratic Party, and the Labor Council, both of whom have well organized get out the vote machines.

Vasquez: “It's a tough choice for many voters. At the end of the day we see Alvarez having an edge in terms of these late ballots.”

Tomorrow is all about getting out the vote. If Alvarez can motivate the Latino vote, he has a good chance of making the runoff.


Steve Bosh

Categories: KUSI