The Austin Chronicle

https://www.austinchronicle.com/news/1998-05-08/523431/

Election Snapshot

Voting Trends Stay the Course, With a Couple of Quirks

By Mike Clark-Madison, May 8, 1998, News

Same song, second (or third) verse? Once again, the progressives and greens have shown that you cannot win if you do not vote. Look at the Central Austin row on the bottom chart under "Citywide Totals." Even including the always anemic UT/West Campus boxes, Central turnout was the highest in town; factor out those UT boxes with their less-than-1% turnout, and Central's turnout was closer to 19%.

Of course, it helped that every single Central box - including the two in Tarrytown - voted for all three bonds, by a healthy 2-1 or more margin. But if Northwest and Southwest had matched that 19% turnout, or if North, East, and South Austin had produced even 10% turnout, Prop. 2 (which lost in the majority of the city's 160 precincts) would have gone down. Of the 69 boxes which had a turnout above the citywide average, only 11 were in East, South/Southeast, or North Austin.

Now, some Northwest and Southwest boxes did match Central Austin's effective 19% turnout - the ones in newly annexed areas (see chart immediately below). Foremost among these was at Circle C Ranch (box 304, Kiker Elementary), which saw a whopping 43.8% turnout and delivered over 1,000 "no" votes on all three bonds.

Overall, though, it was the Northwest that led the general opposition to the entire bond package; the Southwest's animus was more specifically directed at Prop 2. But as the chart below also shows, the boxes within the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District as a whole (which comprises precincts in Central, South/Southeast, and Southwest) matched the city's overall support for Prop 2.

The other races on the ballot, for the aquifer district and AISD, ended up following, rather than leading, voter response. If anything, the bond races skewed results in the AISD contests, not the other way around - Pct. 7 candidate Olga Garza ended up winning outright, and avoiding a runoff, because of the heavy Circle C turnout, most of which went into her column.

It's interesting that the Smart Growth bonds did as well or better, in percentage terms, than any of last year's City Council winners (see bottom chart). This holds true, for the most part, even in sectors that voted against the bonds. Of course, the bonds-vs.-Watson comparison is apples-and-oranges, since there were seven candidates in last year's mayoral race, but the trend is still visible.

And, in case you're curious: Despite being spanked pretty firmly in the district-wide AISD races, Diana CastaƱeda (supposedly a serious candidate) and Jennifer Gale (supposedly not) did each win a few boxes. CastaƱeda took three (very low-turnout) Hispanic Eastside boxes, while Gale won nine (also low-turnout) boxes, all over the map, but mostly in North Austin. Why boxes like Lanier High School went for the cross-dressing fringe candidate, who spent $45 in her campaign, is anybody's guess. (One election night theory was that voters in the North, unfamiliar with either candidate, went for the female name on the ballot.)

(Note on charts: Vote totals are for City of Austin only; therefore, totals may not match those for the overall joint election as reported on the City's website (http://www.ci.austin.tx.us).


Area Statistics PROP 1 PROP 2 PROP 3
Votes Cast Turnout Boxes % of City Yes% Boxes (W-L) Yes% Boxes (W-L) Yes% Boxes (W-L)
Newly Annexed 4,895 19.1% 12 11.2% 43.8 5-7 27.1 0-12 38.4 4-8
AISD Pct. 4 11,070 15.8% 26 25.4% 56.8 24-2 48.6 10-16 60.9 25-1
AISD Pct. 6 6,615 11.9% 23 15.2% 65.7 20-3 68.2 13-10 72.6 22-1
AISD Pct. 7 7,277 15.7% 23 16.7% 51.9 13-10 39.8 3-20 50.6 16-7
Outside AISD 3,203 14.9% 8 7.4% 45.0 4-4 29.3 1-7 40.1 2-6
BS/EACD 13,810 14.0% 43 31.7% 58.6 31-12 53.3 16-27 61.0 35-8
TOTAL 43,513 11.3% 160 100.0% 58.4 113-47 53.3 69-91 62.9 135-25


Bond Results by Region of City

Citywide Totals
Registered Voters Votes Cast Turnout # of Boxes
Central 86,816 13,177 15.2% 37
East 35,238 2,277 6.5% 16
North 70,907 5,986 8.4% 28
NW 61,095 8,753 14.3% 21
S/SE 64,166 3,249 5.1% 28
SW 67,113 10,071 15.0% 30
TOTAL 385,335 43,513 11.3% 160


Bond Results by Region of City

Proposition 1
Margin Yes % Boxes (Y-N)
Central 5,349 70.6% 37- 0
East 208 54.7% 10- 6
North 230 51.9% 13-15
NW 179 51.0% 16- 5
S/SE 318 55.0% 18-10
SW 892 54.5% 19-11
TOTAL 7,176 58.4% 113-47


Bond Results by Region of City

Proposition 2
Margin Yes % Boxes (Y-N)
Central 6,434 74.6% 37- 0
East -106 47.6% 4-12
North -526 45.6% 7-21
NW -2,029 38.3% 2-19
S/SE 102 51.6% 12-16
SW -1,075 44.6% 7-23
TOTAL 2,800 53.3% 69-91


Bond Results by Region of City

Proposition 3
Margin Yes % Boxes (Y-N)
Central 7,458 78.7% 37- 0
East 728 66.3% 16- 0
North 1,090 59.2% 22- 6
NW 204 51.2% 15- 6
S/SE 697 61.0% 23- 5
SW 840 54.3% 22- 8
TOTAL 11,017 62.9% 135-25


1997 Council Races

Results from the primary and runoff elections
1997 Turnout* % for Watson % for Garcia % for Spelman % for Lewis
Central 18.8% 61.4 64.0 70.4 71.2
East 14.6% 43.5 60.9 44.4 34.6
North 12.1% 44.2 46.7 51.7 50.7
NW 16.3% 40.3 35.4 40.1 42.6
S/SE 8.7% 45.0 57.6 50.1 52.9
SW 14.9% 41.2 41.6 45.7 46.3
TOTAL 14.3% 48.2 51.4 54.7 54.4

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