The Numbers Crunch

"Only expect what happens. Then you're never surprised." Typically gnomic election-night advice from Mark Yznaga, but nonetheless wise; an examination of the numbers around town, precinct by precinct, helps shed light on Saturday's "surprising" results.


Race Results by Box Size

Votes per Box

<200 votes

201-399 votes

400-599 votes

600-799 votes

800+ votes

Total

# of Boxes

30

50

43

16

12

151

Total Votes Cast

4,216

14,732

20,986

11,316

11,616

62,840


Boxes Won:

Watson

17

30

24

9

6

86

Reynolds

12

19

19

7

6

63


Garcia

25

41

24

9

5

104

Motal

2

9

19

7

7

44


Zuniga

23

42

29

12

10

116

Spelman

6

7

14

4

2

33


Mitchell

17

34

23

8

7

89

Lewis

12

15

20

8

5

60


Plurality:

Mayor:

Watson +448

Watson +606

Watson +2,565

Watson +1,457

Watson +111

Watson +5,363

Place 2:

Garcia +1,077

Garcia +3,405

Garcia +3,260

Garcia +1,567

Motal +386

Garcia +8,571

Place 5:

Zuniga +485

Zuniga +2,225

Zuniga +2,055

Zuniga +1,055

Zuniga +2,857

Zuniga +8,813

Place 6:

Mitchell +285

Mitchell +1,437

Lewis +608

Lewis +575

Mitchell +815

Mitchell + 1,581



"Race Results by Box Size" shows how each of the top challengers did in the turnout derby. Generally, the older, wealthier and/or more-Anglo the voters in a precinct, the higher the turnout, regardless of whether they vote left or right. (These higher-turnout boxes -- and the vote total is often more important than the turnout percentage -- are the ones most candidates target with phone calls, block walkers, and the like.) Usually, of course, the older, wealthier and more-Anglo voters tend to the right, which makes Kirk Watson's sweep across the turnout spectrum notable -- a testament to his get-out-the-vote effort, unmatched in extent or expense in recent memory. However, it would seem that Watson's coattails turned out to not be that long after all, since the other prog-lib candidates -- even Gus Garcia -- did less well in the higher-turnout boxes. Or, conversely, Ronney Reynolds did a surprisingly pathetic job of mobilizing his voters, failing to pick up votes in boxes where Manuel Zuniga, Eric Mitchell and even Becky Motal did well, let alone where they did poorly. Odd as it may seem to the central-city voter, there are plenty of Watson/Mitchell and Watson/Zuniga boxes throughout the city -- as well as Watson/Willie Lewis/Zuniga, which is really bad news for Bill Spelman. (There was even one Watson/Motal box.) Less surprisingly, perhaps, there was just one Reynolds/Lewis box and no Reynolds/Spelman boxes anywhere.


Voting Margins by Region

Central

Northwest

North

Southwest

South/SE

East

Total

Total

18,778

11,129

10,793

9,993

6,810

5,337

62,840

Turnout

21.76%

20.03%

14.81%

18.76%

10.49%

15.33%

17.09%


Mayor

Watson

11,528

4,481

4,770

4,113

3,064

2,322

30,278

Reynolds

4,848

5,941

4,703

4,780

2,402

2,241

24,915

Margin

6,680

-1,460

67

-667

662

81

5,363


Place 2

Garcia

12,008

3,938

5,035

4,156

3,925

3,251

32,313

Motal

5,274

5,654

4,579

4,845

2,011

1,379

23,742

Margin

6,734

-1,716

456

-689

1,914

1,872

8,571


Place 5

Zuniga

5,768

6,294

4,527

4,673

2,334

1,713

25,309

Spelman

6,908

2,107

2,748

2,254

1,401

1,078

16,496

Margin

-1,140

4,187

1,779

2,419

933

635

8,813


Place 6

Mitchell

5,665

5,925

4,985

5,199

2,908

3,095

27,777

Lewis

10,533

3,419

4,086

3,437

2,862

1,859

26,196

Margin

-4,868

2,506

899

1,762

46

1,236

1,581



The other two charts track turnout by region within the city. Usually, Central Austin (except for West Campus) and the Northwest have the highest turnout, East and Southeast Austin have the lowest, and the North and Southwest are in the middle. This time around, however, the North had fairly dismal turnout, which helped spell doom for Reynolds and trouble for Mitchell. Reynolds was also screwed by his failure to pick up the Eastside, where Mitchell did indeed win by a goodly margin. Both Eric and Ronney showed surprising weakness south of the river (considering Southwest Austin had twice as many votes as the Eastside, and is where he lives, Mitchell should have done better there), while Zuniga showed surprising strength in Central Austin -- even if we add Karen Hadden's central-city votes to Spelman's, the progressive Midtown vote in Place 5 is smaller than the Central Austin leftie landslide in the other three races. (FYI: the two Central Austin boxes to go for Reynolds, Motal, and Mitchell are the two Tarrytown boxes, at Casis Elementary and along Balcones Drive. But while those boxes' 40% turnout gave Motal and Mitchell over 400-vote margins, Reynolds got only a 149-vote bump here.)


Boxes Won by Region

Central

Northwest

North

Southwest

South/SE

East

Total

# of Boxes

37

17

31

22

28

16

151

Total Votes Cast

18,878

10,685

10,565

10,460

5,834

5,337

62,840

Turnout

20.4%

19.9%

14.1%

18.9%

10.2%

15.3%

17.09%


Mayor

Watson

35

3

14

6

20

8

83

Reynolds

2

14

16

16

7

8

63


Place 2

Garcia

35

1

18

9

25

16

102

Motal

2

16

12

13

1

0

43


Place 5

Spelman

26

0

3

1

2

1

33

Zuniga

10

17

28

21

25

15

113


Place 6

Lewis

35

0

4

4

14

3

59

Mitchell

2

17

26

18

14

12

87



As for the leaders among the also-rans: Max Nofziger did manage to beat Reynolds, though not Watson, in a dozen Central Austin boxes. (Max didn't beat Watson anywhere.) In Place 2, Laurin Currie finished third in just about every box citywide, and garnered between 17 and 22% in the three boxes nearest his Northwest Austin stomping grounds, accounting for nearly one-fifth of his total vote. Place 5 was, naturally, the most complicated, with Hadden finishing second to Spelman in eight Central Austin boxes and second to Zuniga in one Eastside box; Enriquez finishing second to Spelman in two boxes, second to Zuniga in four; and Gus Peña winning five East and Southeast boxes outright (though narrowly), and finishing second to Zuniga in nine others. And in Place 6, the surprising showing of Eric Samson -- supposedly a measure of the Helmet Law Party vote mobilized by Nofziger and Hadden -- is made even more surprising by Samson's consistency citywide; even in Northwest Austin boxes where Max couldn't break 5%, Samson cruised along at between 7 and 11%, helping push Mitchell into Runoff Hell.

Peña and Currie's examples aside, being the favorite-son candidate of your neighborhood is no guarantee of success there. Watson, who lives in Tarrytown, got whomped there by Reynolds; Lewis, longtime president of the Pecan Springs neighborhood association, lost the Pecan Springs Elementary box handily to Mitchell (though he won two others nearby); and Motal got crushed by Garcia in her Barton Hills stomping grounds. Mitchell, Zuniga, Spelman, Reynolds, and Garcia all won their own boxes.

Between now and May 31, we'll do some more number-crunching to cast light on the possibilities for the Place 5 and 6 runoffs. Meanwhile, these figures and more, including full precinct-by-precinct results, are on the Chronicle website, /


Web Extra: Precinct-by-Precinct Results

Final voting tallies for all precincts are available for the following races, sorted by region:

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