Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Layman's Analysis of AZ-CD-8 SE Results

Some may be expecting some form of whining over Barber's victory over Jesse Kelly. While there are things about the election I could "call foul" about, I won't. Though many thought Kelly started the campaign as the probable victor who had to play defense the whole time, I knew Kelly was facing a hard battle. He had a left-leaning concentration in Tucson to contend with. He also faced many Giffords supporters that were quick to back Barber. There were other issues that came into play, yes. In an earlier article, I expressed concern over a still unverified rumor.

Another issue is voter turnout. In the heavily conservative Cochise County, there was a reported 20% turnout for the primary. The special election yielded a 31% voter turnout, an increase of only 11%. As of Saturday, there were at least 300 PEVL ballots (early, mail-in ballots) still not returned. That was just in 4 of the county's 64 voting precincts. In the primary, Kelly garnered the majority of PEVL votes.

In contrast, Pima County, which contains Tucson, has 281 voting precincts, 324k registered voters, and a 50% voter turnout percentage. The turnout for the primary was only 31% by comparison, a 19% bump from the primary. Clearly, Pima County residents were more willing to take the time out of their busy days to cast a ballot.

(Figures taken from the Arizona Secretary of State Elections site)

Some politicos and political analysts have posited that the results of this election will indicate how Arizona will vote in the November Presidential Elections. With 69% more registered voters likely to turnout for the November election in Cochise County as well as the additional 50% in Pima County, the results only indicate that the race in Arizona may be closer than initially anticipated. It would be foolish to try to predict the results this early in the race. 

The figures that emerge after the August 28, 2012 primaries will be interesting to track and compare, as well as the results by county in the November general election. In the General Election, Cochise County and part of Pima County will comprise CD-2, while the majority of Pima County and all of Santa Cruz County be part of CD-3.

While voter fraud may have occurred in the election, a 6.7% victory margin is too wide to claim it had much of an impact on the results. The results are more likely the result of voter-burnout in Cochise County combined with some people confused, thinking the primary was the special election. Some may not have cared about who won a congressional seat for the 6 months left in the term. Another possible conclusion that could be drawn from the low turnout in Cochise County is some voters just refused to vote, since their candidate lost the primary. Any who don't like the outcome but didn't vote have only the person in their mirrors to blame. In any case, Barber won fair and square.