Regional patterns and turnout in the 50th district

From the past week or so, a couple of reports from the North [San Diego] County Times have looked at the turnout and regional patterns within the CA-50 House district special election.

The final tally shows the turnout was 39% of registered voters. That may not sound like much, but it is actually quite high for a special House election. Turnout apparently was higher in the coastal communinities, which are precisely the areas in which Democratic candidate Francine Busby was strongest.

In many midterm elections, when the party in control of the House changes (as in 1994), or when it defies the usual midterm-loss phenomenon and picks up seats (as in 1998 and 2002), turnout is typically one of the decisive factors. Is the 50th district turnout pattern significant? Does it show an energized Democratic party and unenthusiastic Republicans? Or will it be an aberation? The answer to these questions will go a long way towards determining which party is in control of the US House as of next January.

A second report shows a map of the top three candidates’ support in various communities.* It shows that Busby won majorities in the coastal communities of Encinitas (a small subset of which is Cardiff, where she is an elected school board member) and Del Mar, as well as in the slightly inland sprawl-town of Del Mar Heights. The three top candidates ran almost even in the wealthy enclave of Rancho Santa Fe, where 24% of the vote was far below Busby’s overall district share (44%). In the inland communities Busby ran slightly below (or, in the case of Escondido, well behind, at 35%) of her district overall share.

*I was going to post it, but it is rather small and blurry. It was a lot easier to read in the print version than on-line.

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