Thursday, November 3, 2011

Charlotte's Upcoming 2011 Election

With the 2011 election season coming to a close in the Queen City, I thought I would post a map with the precincts in Mecklenburg County color-coded using the Partisan Voting Index (PVI) that I developed for analyzing the voting behavior of precincts. As just a reminder of what makes up the PVI:

  • For each precincts, I used the 2004 and 2008 presidential election returns in that precinct for each presidential candidate and subtracted the Mecklenburg County average. So, if Kerry got a county-wide average of 51% and a precinct gave him 61%, he got a +10; same for Obama in 2008; and then I averaged the two numbers.

So, when I did this for each precinct, I classified them into the following categories:

  • Greater than +10: Likely precinct for the party

  • Between +3 and +10: Lean precinct for the party

  • Less than +3: toss-up precinct (read battleground)

The map is located here.

Notice that out of the seven city council districts, Districts 1-5 are pretty much "blue" and should elect Democrats, while Districts 6 & 7 are pretty "red" and should elect Republicans out of them. If you take all of the outside boundaries of the districts and consider those the Charlotte city limits, you'll see a pretty significant "blue" tint to the city limits.

While this map is not necessarily intended to indicate who will win or loose the mayoral race or the at-large council races next week, it's pretty indicative of Charlotte matching the national norm that urban areas go Democratic, while suburban areas (read outside the city limits within Mecklenburg) go Republican.

What really surprises me is the sense of "sorting" by Charlotte residents into areas that are heavily one party or the other. The notable scant numbers of "toss-up" precincts is one that really surprised me, but only confirms the findings of folks like Bill Bishop in his wonderful book The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart.