Sunday, February 19, 2017

How We Voted

The final numbers have been available for several months, but we thought a little recap of the November election at this time might give us some direction and points to ponder as we head into 2017.  Candidacies will start to  form throughout this year, as we prepare for 2018.  We've chosen statistics to bolster our analysis, but the full complement of numbers are available here and here.  If interested there is plenty for your research.

Overall Turnout

     Johnson County       69.62%
     State of Iowa            72.77%

Analysis:  Even with such a well publicized election and well-vetted candidates Johnson County residents didn't come out to vote in line with voters in the State, or even with counties surrounding our own.   Parties still have work to get the voters out on election day.

Turnout By Party

    Republicans              70.08%
    Democrats                73.49%
    No Party's                  63.71%

Analysis:  "No Party" voters drag down the turnout statistics for Johnson County (and virtually every other county).  It's obvious the many voters that fail to register a party probably don't ever intend to vote.  They are fully divorced from the process.  But we also see Republicans can't rest on our laurels, as we trailed the Democrats by nearly 3.5% in turning out voters.  And since there are more of them than us, that small percentage represents sizable swath of missing Republican voters.

Turnout By Age

    18-24                          61.82%
    25-34                          47.25%
    35-49                          72.01%
    50-64                          83.65%
    65 & Over                   87.00%

Analysis:  This is a well known statistic that people become better voters as they age. The numbers here pertain to Johnson County, and they reflect statewide averages except in the youngest voters.  With such a large continent of 18 to 24 year old students in this county, this group is over-represented in the whole sample.  But it also tells us when we're looking for voters, we'll probably have best results if we restrict our searches in the 35 and over age groups, as people in those brackets are more receptive to get-out-the-vote efforts.

Results by Candidate

    Donald Trump won the election in Iowa by a surplus of 147,314 votes, and won all but 5 counties:
 
    Johnson   -29,156 votes
    Linn           -10,454
    Polk           -26,312
    Scott           -1,291
    Story           -6,251

    Charles Grassley won the election in Iowa by a surplus of 376,306 votes, and won all but 1 county:

    Johnson     -13,636 votes

    Christopher Peters  lost the election in Congressional District 2 (24 counties) to Dave Loebsack by 27,273 votes but won all but 8 counties:

    Cedar              -109 votes
    Clinton           -1,971
    Des Moines    -2,101
    Jefferson        -1,378
    Johnson        -27,305
    Lee                  -1,391
    Muscatine       -1,166
    Scott               -5,448
    Wapello              -662

Analysis:  Charles Grassley, our long-serving and venerated US Senator might have swept the whole state this election but for the liberal voting block in Johnson County.  Note, however, he lost by less than half the votes here than either Donald Trump or Christopher Peters who were on the same ballot.  That's electoral strength in action.  Donald Trump lost votes only in large metropolitan counties in Eastern Iowa, and as we know from past elections these are hard spots for Republicans to prevail.  Christopher Peters faced voters in two of the same counties that gave trouble to Trump, but other counties in the district with large towns also did damage to Peters' chances. It's hard to win elections in this corner of the state with victories in small counties and sizable losses in large counties.  Republican candidates that run here must consider how to reverse these voting patterns.


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