Decision 2017: A post mortem

The October 14 primary election has concluded, and Louisiana’s next Treasurer will either be Democratic attorney Derrick Edwards or Republican former (he resigned his seat in June) state representative John Schroder (both face each other in the November 18 runoff). Below is a summary of last night’s election/turnout data, as well as some observations gained from a detailed precinct analysis of the data:

  1. Extremely low voter turnout: Statewide turnout was 13.5%, which is one of the (if not the) lowest statewide turnouts ever – and that’s even with a contested Mayoral race/City Council races in New Orleans propping up turnout (Orleans Parish turnout was 29%);
  2. Strong early vote: 23.1% of Louisianians early voted, which is the third highest percentage ever (it was 23.2% in the 2015 statewide runoffs and 25.9% in the 2016 Presidential election);
  3. Moderate black turnout: (Revised 10/16 AM) Blacks were 26% of the early vote (they represent 31% of the electorate), and JMC Analytics and Polling estimates that the statewide electorate (with both Election Day and early voting included) electorate was 70-28% white/black. Again, this was due to the over-sized influence of Orleans Parish, which cast 19% of the statewide total vote (typically, their statewide influence is about 8%);
  4. Blacks remain heavily Democratic: Derrick Edwards was the lone Democratic candidate on the ballot, but he did not receive much (if any) organizational support from the Democrats, and he had very little money to spend. Furthermore, the Neil Riser campaign (unusual for a statewide Republican) invested heavily in getting a respectable black vote in New Orleans, but in the end, traditional party preferences reasserted themselves: JMC estimates that the black vote went 76% for Edwards, 9% for Angele Davis, 7% for Riser, 5% for Schroder, and 4% for the other candidates. The numbers weren’t much different in New Orleans (where Riser invested heavily), 75% for Edwards, 8% apiece for Angele Davis and Neil Riser, and 4% apiece for Schroder and the other candidates;
  5. The “market value” of the Democratic party label: Not only did Derrick Edwards receive an overwhelming (76% statewide, 75% in Orleans Parish) black vote, but he received a respectable percentage of the white vote as well considering his limited resources/statewide exposure: 15% of the statewide vote, a 32% plurality in Orleans Parish, and 16% in East Baton Rouge Parish. In other words, the placement of a single Democrat on the statewide ballot pretty much guarantees that candidate 30% of the statewide vote.