Decision 2015: An analytical post-mortem

The October 2015 primary election has concluded, and the governor’s race was a surprise to many, as Rep. John Bel Edwards (D-Amite) posted an unambiguous 40-23% margin over Republican Senator David Vitter (he received 23% of the white vote and 85% of the black vote). Below is a summary of tonight’s election/turnout data:

  1. Low voter turnout: 38% turnout, which was barely above the 37% turnout in the 2011 statewide races;
  2. Strong early vote: 21% of Louisianians early voted, which is a record percentage;
  3. Similar percentages: John Bel Edwards received 40% of both the early and the Election Day vote. Senator Vitter received 25% of the early vote and 23% of the Election Day vote. Scott Angelle received 18% of the early vote and 20% of the Election Day vote, while Secretary of State Jay Dardenne received 14% of the early vote and 15% of the Election Day vote (3% of early and Election Day voters chose one of the minor candidates);
  4. Moderate black turnout: Blacks were 27% of the early vote (they represent 31% of the electorate), and JMC Analytics and Polling estimates that the Election Day electorate was 69-27% white/black. In other words, the normal turnout differential between white and black voters in midterm races (which in this case was 7%) was apparent in the October primary.