New Orleans Mayor’s Race – Close of Early Voting

Previously, we noted the strong early voting in the New Orleans mayor’s race. This trend continued into the last day of early voting Saturday. The cumulative early vote total is now 16,582, of whom 68% are black and 29% are white (the racial split of the New Orleans voter rolls is 62/31% as of 1/4/2010). To put this number in perspective, this number represents 98% of the early vote for the 2008 Presidential election.

Do we think that this early vote number represents a Presidential level turnout ? In this case, we believe the answer is an unqualified “No”,as the occurrence of the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras this weekend has resulted in those extremely interested in the race voting now to “get it over with.”

In terms of projected turnout, we believe that the absentee vote suggests a turnout of between 110 and 140 thousand (the high visibility 2006 mayor’s race between Ray Nagin and Mitch Landrieu had an 113,600 turnout, while 147,400 voted in the 2008 Presidential race).