Recentered Democratic primary turnout figures.

Yesterday a friend mentioned to me that it’s not really fair to say that there was only 3.44% voter turnout for yesterday’s primary, given that Democrats make up, at best, just half of the electorate in Virginia. (I speculate it’s closer to 45%.) So we could call that 6.88% turnout, which is rather better than 3.44%.

Wanting to explore this further, I’ve recentered turn-out figures based on the 2004 presidential election in order to determine what percentage of Democratic voters showed up. This, naturally, does not include people who are not registered, or people who are registered but don’t bother to vote. I figure if you didn’t vote in 2004, ain’t nothin’ gonna get you to vote.

Here are the top ten localities with the best turnout:

Locality Turnout
Falls Church 23.66%
Williamsburg 20.71%
Fairfax City 18.89%
Arlington 18.65%
Mathews 16.74%
Alexandria 16.16%
Craig 16.09%
Rappahannock 15.73%
Poquoson 15.24%
Lexington 15.22%

And the bottom ten:

Locality Turnout
Hopewell 5.01%
Manassas Park 5.07%
Wise County 5.15%
Powhatan County 5.53%
Lee County 5.67%
Tazewell County 5.73%
Buchanan 5.78%
Dinwiddie 5.84%
Charles City 5.85%
Colonial Heights 6.02%

True, 23% isn’t anything to write home about, but it’s a figure that gives an alternate perspective on what the turnout was.

I’ve included the entire list below, sorted alphabetically.

Locality Turnout
Accomack County 8.79%
Albemarle County 14.12%
Alexandria City 16.16%
Alleghany County 7.96%
Amelia County 10.20%
Amherst County 7.17%
Appomattox County 7.99%
Arlington County 18.65%
Augusta County 10.39%
Bath County 11.59%
Bedford City 13.53%
Bedford County 8.20%
Bland County 11.23%
Botetourt County 10.44%
Bristol City 8.63%
Brunswick County 7.98%
Buchanan County 5.78%
Buckingham County 10.68%
Buena Vista City 11.11%
Campbell County 7.27%
Caroline County 6.31%
Carroll County 10.37%
Charles City County 5.85%
Charlotte County 8.68%
Charlottesville City 14.02%
Chesapeake City 8.33%
Chesterfield County 6.22%
Clarke County 10.52%
Colonial Heights City 6.02%
Covington City 9.16%
Craig County 16.09%
Culpeper County 9.17%
Cumberland County 8.37%
Danville City 7.65%
Dickenson County 7.44%
Dinwiddie County 5.84%
Emporia City 9.06%
Essex County 6.23%
Fairfax City 18.89%
Fairfax County 14.34%
Falls Church City 23.66%
Fauquier County 10.87%
Floyd County 8.72%
Fluvanna County 10.96%
Franklin City 11.47%
Franklin County 10.40%
Frederick County 6.57%
Fredericksburg City 12.88%
Galax City 11.65%
Giles County 9.16%
Gloucester County 10.52%
Goochland County 7.65%
Grayson County 12.26%
Greene County 8.04%
Greensville County 9.55%
Halifax County 7.41%
Hampton City 10.37%
Hanover County 7.63%
Harrisonburg City 6.86%
Henrico County 8.22%
Henry County 6.36%
Highland County 12.26%
Hopewell City 5.01%
Isle Of Wight County 9.06%
James City County 13.93%
King & Queen County 8.83%
King George County 9.60%
King William County 8.87%
Lancaster County 13.32%
Lee County 5.67%
Lexington City 15.22%
Loudoun County 8.63%
Louisa County 8.65%
Lunenburg County 9.91%
Lynchburg City 12.10%
Madison County 9.28%
Manassas City 8.00%
Manassas Park City 5.07%
Martinsville City 8.86%
Mathews County 16.74%
Mecklenburg County 8.60%
Middlesex County 9.72%
Montgomery County 11.86%
Nelson County 12.67%
New Kent County 10.36%
Newport News City 8.35%
Norfolk City 10.50%
Northampton County 7.53%
Northumberland County 14.01%
Norton City 6.76%
Nottoway County 8.84%
Orange County 11.41%
Page County 6.74%
Patrick County 11.94%
Petersburg City 6.82%
Pittsylvania County 6.84%
Poquoson City 15.24%
Portsmouth City 11.35%
Powhatan County 5.53%
Prince Edward County 8.51%
Prince George County 8.15%
Prince William County 6.68%
Pulaski County 8.98%
Radford City 10.07%
Rappahannock County 15.73%
Richmond City 10.06%
Richmond County 7.56%
Roanoke City 10.15%
Roanoke County 10.53%
Rockbridge County 14.17%
Rockingham County 7.51%
Russell County 7.92%
Salem City 10.08%
Scott County 8.21%
Shenandoah County 9.93%
Smyth County 7.46%
Southampton County 13.32%
Spotsylvania County 6.80%
Stafford County 7.14%
Staunton City 10.25%
Suffolk City 7.56%
Surry County 9.47%
Sussex County 10.04%
Tazewell County 5.73%
Virginia Beach City 10.74%
Warren County 6.64%
Washington County 6.05%
Waynesboro City 9.10%
Westmoreland County 6.77%
Williamsburg City 20.71%
Winchester City 10.56%
Wise County 5.15%
Wythe County 11.53%
York County 11.75%

1:30pm Update: Kenton and I are on the same wavelength this morning — he did the same thing, using Kaine’s figures, mapping the results.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

18 replies on “Recentered Democratic primary turnout figures.”

  1. I wonder to what extent the turnout in each locality is an indicator of the relative effectiveness and strength of the party apparatus in each locality. Is Falls Church known for having a really active, vital Democratic Party? Are Hopewell or Charles City known for having a particularly weak party?

  2. I’m pretty familiar with Hopewell and I can tell you that the Democratic Party in Hopewell is essentially nonexistant.

    Along with Poquoson and Colonial Heighs, Hopewell is probably one of the most Republican areas in Virginia.

  3. “Arlington City” was a) a byproduct of copying and pasting a big jumble of text and subsequently reassembling it badly and b) me being totally unfamiliar with Northern Virginia and thus not noticing the mistake. Arlington, Alexandria, Manassas, Loudoun…they’re all just a bunch of names to me.

    I’ve fixed it now, of course.

  4. Waldo, there is actually a group of people with no interest in federal elections but who will vote in statewide elections. It’s small, but significant enough to be noticed.

    So, if they didn’t vote in 01, 04 or 05, nothing will get them to vote.

  5. Waldo, there is actually a group of people with no interest in federal elections but who will vote in statewide elections. It’s small, but significant enough to be noticed.

    You know, I’ve never gone through and looked, but I wonder what the highest turnout percentage has been in the past decade or so. I can only assume that it was for a presidential election, but one never knows.

    When you divide these numbers out, you might want to use the Kaine vote totals instead of the hypothetical 50%

    I didn’t use the hypothetical 50% — “I’ve recentered turn-out figures based on the 2004 presidential election.”

  6. “I wonder to what extent the turnout in each locality is an indicator of the relative effectiveness and strength of the party apparatus”.

    I suppose one does not have to follow the other: I am going out on a limb here and going to assume that if there is first, a population that actively votes, that same population would produce more activists, thus more party organization.

    Supply side politics.

  7. You know what I never ran into in Charlottesville or Albemarle Democratic party events? A Miller volunteer. Lots of paid staff brought in from out of town, but no volunteers. Wheras Webb had a couple of really dedicated volunteers who were local to Charlottesville and Albemarle. They made phone calls and they showed up at every political event to push James Webb and speak on his behalf.

    Jim Webb really inspired a handful of people and captured their imaginations. In many races this doesn’t amount to much. When you have high turnout, that energy and activism is dwarfed by the effect of millions of dollars of spending on advertising. But in a very low turnout race, things are different. You’re left with the ‘serious’ voters who vote in every election, follow politics closely and are less affected by advertising than your average citizen. So that small cadre of dedicated volunteers who go out and talk to their friends and neighbors suddenly has a much larger proportionate effect.

    From where I am, it always looked like Miller had some amount of support but not the same kind of fierce loyalty that James Webb inspires in his followers.

  8. Waldo —

    I already asked Kenton this question: Does anybody have the capability to do maps showing the sizes of the jurisdictions weighted by the primary votes cast? Sabato does it with state population — doing it with Tuesday’s results would stretch Fairfax County down to around Martinsville, and, more important, would show the true heft of little “Arlington City”. Can somebody do that, or do I have to ask Sabato?

  9. If Kenton can’t do it, can’t nobody do it. :)

    The trouble with mapping software is that it’s expensive. There are a few off-the-shelf packages that will permit some pretty advanced stuff, but it’s rather a high shelf in a store that would throw me out if they saw me lingering near the door.

    Metaphorically speaking, of course.

    See if you can buttonhole the Center for Politics’ Josh Scott at the Blog Summit. He’ll be moderating the Ethics panel. Maybe you can convince him to create such a map. :)

  10. Hey, if you’d made it the top eleven you could have given Rockbridge County its due! ;>

    Being a Dem activist here, I’d love to think that vibrant party organization is responsible, but the truth is that Rockbridge County is under-registered. Therefore, turnout always looks better than it really is.

    And, until things change dramatically at the national level, so that our party is really offering policies that help low-wage rural workers, we’re not about to do registration drives in the county. The culture war is still being won by the Rs here, and we’d end up registering many more voters for them than for our candidates.

  11. Probably the best explanation for the decent local turnout in this primary is that Dem activists here got a chance to see both candidates, because the 6th CD convention was held here.

    We emailed our contact list to encourage people to take advantage of this one local campaign opportunity, and quite a few did. Then, I’m assuming, they talked about it with friends. Result: big Webb margins.

Comments are closed.