First, we have a city divided:
There is a racial component to this: most commentators underestimate how the strong union-bashing and assault on regular public schools played–Connolly’s opposition to the new school assignment plan was not well received in poorer and minority communities. Keep in mind that Walsh is the son of Irish immigrants–this is not people rallying to those of their own ethnicity. This was primarily about perceived interest. With the exception of Walsh doing well in his own neighborhood, it’s a pretty striking geographic divide.
Onto some numbers. Forty percent of registered voters turned out (40.19% to be exact). What I don’t understand is that the richest districts (including those who went for Walsh, though they were fewer) had low to average turnout (data from here–pdf). Back Bay had a turnout rate of 31.68% (4200/13257) while Beacon Hill had a turnout rate of 38.8% (2245/5782).
But guess which neighborhood had an astronomical turnout? East Boston which had an incredibly divisive casino referendum. By divisive, I mean people had to be separated after trading blows. Divisive. Of the fourteen East Boston precincts, the lowest had a turnout of 75%*, and five had a turnout…greater than 100%?
The Rascal King lives? Not sure how that happened….
(By the way, it doesn’t seem to have affected the mayoral outcome).
If you want high turnout, give voters something they really care about, that really affects their lives, and they’ll show up.
*There’s one tiny district that had a turnout rate of six percent.