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21.11.07

EBR numbers compensate little for Democrat losses

Much attention has been given to displacement effects of the 2005 hurricane disasters in Louisiana, particularly in Orleans Parish but also, to a lesser extent Jefferson and St. Bernard. As I mentioned yesterday, this has created interesting dynamics in Orleans Parish, which confirms the thought that Democrats are disproportionately disadvantaged in statewide contests. But another interesting consideration is whether a substantial portion of those displaced ended up in East Baton Rouge Parish and thereby could mitigate the Democrat disadvantage.

Census data released earlier this year showed New Orleans had lost of age 20 and up almost 129,000 black and about 40,000 white residents from 2005 to 2006. At the same time, of East Baton Rouge of residents of that age blacks gained over 15,000 while whites were virtually identical in total. Assuming whites split between Democrat and Republican, 80 percent of blacks register as Democrats and 10 percent Republican, and further assuming 55 percent of blacks of age register to vote, this means about 50,000 Democrat votes were lost in Orleans and about 6,000 gained in Baton Rouge – in other words, not much compensation. (Of course, in 2007 some more have trickled back to Orleans from Baton Rouge and out of state.)

Registration and election returns verify Baton Rouge gains won’t provide much Democrat cushion. From the end of 2005 to just prior to the 2007 primary elections, whites had been reduced on the rolls by about 3,000 and blacks increased about the same. In the 2003 sheriff’s primary election, about 116,000 participated, while in the same 2007 election about 118,000 voted in an election whose turnout was down slightly from the previous four years because even as white turnout was about the same black turnout was down about 6 percent, which questions the speculation that blacks or even Democrats may have made a pivotal difference in that parish’s 2007 contests.

These numbers means that perhaps half of presumably displaced blacks in the parish typically expected to actually did register to vote, implying that some may return to Orleans and/or have disengaged from the electoral process. It also may mean there is fertile ground for recruitment but only a few thousand votes for statewide purposes could be added.

Knowing they may have “lost” a few thousand less voters than anticipated may make Democrats feel better, but it does little to reverse the major long-term problem they face of declining numbers in Louisiana.

1 comment:

The Real Sporer said...

An unforseen silver lining in an otherwise bleak catastrophe.