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8.11.06

Race mattered in 2006 Caddo-area elections

As it did in the instance of the Shreveport mayor’s contest, race played a role, although subdued, in other voting in and around Caddo Parish on Nov. 7.

Shreveport mayor-elect Cedric Glover’s impressive turnout train almost carried City Council District B candidate Sheva Sims into the station. In that district, the Sep. 30 election brought incumbent Monty Walford a lead of 42-30 percent on a white turnout exceeding black turnout by about 7 percent, negating the 331 black voter advantage of whites in the district, total turnout being 32.23 percent.

But in the general election, overall turnout jumped to 40.15 percent, lagging overall city turnout a fraction. While we don’t have the official turnout statistics yet by race, the 8 point gap achieved by whites over blacks in the primary was approximately halved in the general election and we can assume the same happened in amount to the District B almost 7 point gap. Given the existing margin in favor of black voters, that should have drawn the candidates even, and the historic pattern of 15 percent of whites voting for black candidates in a white vs. black matchup, against about half that the other way around, should have given Sims the win.


Yet Walford eked out the win because he attracted almost the same proportion of black voters. While there is no precinct in District B that is essentially monoracial, making it difficult to estimate crossover voting, Precinct 7 is one of the few city precincts that has a rough parity in voters by race. As noted elsewhere, black Glover’s opponent white Jerry Jones underperformed in almost all white precincts compared to Glover’s take in almost all-black precincts, about 13 percent lower. The same was true in #7, with a white proportion of 40.2 percent but with Jones capturing only 26 percent of the vote. However, Walford managed to pull 35.1 percent of the vote in that one. Extrapolating this one precinct district-wide, knowing Jones picked up only a little over 1 percent of the black vote, that means Walford got about 8 percent of the black vote – just enough to win.

Race also mattered, to a lesser degree, in the narrow defeat of another attempt to raise taxes on people shopping in Caddo Parish to provide additional revenue to fund juvenile justice activities. In the 13 city almost all-black precincts, about 60 percent approved of the 0.1 percent sales and use tax increase, but a little under 50 percent of those in the 4 city almost all-white precincts approved.

Still, that would have been enough for it to pass – except for the parish (non-Shreveport) precincts. In these rural areas, which are almost 80 percent white, sentiment solidly was against the proposal with the city cushion of nearly 700 wiped out by a 1,200 vote defeat in the country, or support only around 40 percent. Perhaps because juvenile crime seems much less prevalent outside of Shreveport, rural residents remain unconvinced of the tax’s need given existing revenue streams available to fund these activities.

These and the mayor’s contests in the 2006 election cycle show how political attitudes continue to differ along the enduring dimension of race, with their ensuing electoral consequences.

4 comments:

Chris Benard said...

Jeff, you are normally so incendiary, but this time, I think you actually posted a rational analysis of last night's happenings. Kudos to you, for once. I know you're probably unhappy, due to your obvious "lean" to the right. I put lean in quotes because you're basically horizontal and you don't attempt to hide it in your writing.

If I ever had you as a professor at LSUS, I'd probably go nuts, especially since you teach political science. Disclaimer: I am a student at LSUS. I hope you can be as impassionate in the classroom as you were in this post.

Jeff Sadow said...

Both instruction and research in academia should proceed along impartial lines, in the former case to give students the best chance to derive the most valid construct of how the world works, and in the later case to expand understandings to pass on to the former.

Increasingly this is out of fashion in academia, in part because this very liberal profession fears the consequences to acceptance of its validity-impaired ideology. History and logic validates the ideas behind conservatism, so liberals must obfuscate, distort, or ignore parts of history and evidence in their instruction and research. Fortunately, many liberals in the profession continue to follow the traditional model and, like me, let the chips fall where they may, but increasingly many do not.

Taking a course from me is an extreme and rare privilege, so maybe you'll be fortunate enough to do so. At the very least, you'll have the chance to become exceptionally knowledgeable in some aspect of politics and be challenged to think creatively and critically.

Alexandra in Texas said...

If one of my professors advertised his course and his persona in such a way, I'd make sure to avoid both at all costs.

And I'm an A.B.D. in Political Science.

Jeff Sadow said...

Then you would miss out on a fabulous learning experience that would challenge you to the limit of your abilities, if I'm your instructor. (Presupposing, of course, that the student wants to be challenged; mine discover pretty quickly that if you're committed to learning the material and exploring it you'll find no greater asset than me to do so; if you're just passing time, you're probably better off elsewhere.)

But, if your complaint is about that I'm simply not into indoctrinating students as many in the profession increasingly are, that's a pity.