Otherwise Like-Minded Voters Split on Prop. 2

Proposition 2 created a big divide among voters who typically agree on most things

Otherwise Like-Minded Voters Split on Prop. 2

The most notable feature of the Proposition 2 vote was the closeness. Overall, the "nays" only took 52% – a margin of just 10,164 votes out of more than a quarter-million cast. It seemed that any group of politically minded Austinites that got together before Election Day, even if they normally fell on the same side of the political coin, had a split opinion on this one.

In reviewing the precinct-by-precinct results, it was striking how, rather than the normal geographic splits common in other races, this one had a plethora of evenly split neighborhoods. We decided to reflect this split opinion with an unusual take in this map: Rather than showing a straight up or down decision for each precinct, we painted the close ones (those where the totals ranged from 48.00% to 52.00%) all in one color. For the rest, we showed our more common shadings of weakly (52.01%-55.00%) or strongly (more than 55%) supportive or against.

A surprising 55 precincts fell into the "even" category, and with no real geographic uniformity. Ultimately, Prop. 2's biggest problem was that it came out behind in raw number of precincts that favored it. Thirty-nine were weakly supportive, and a mere 19 were strongly in favor – and many of the latter were precincts that didn't yield a lot of votes. On the flip side, 31 were weakly against, and 57 came out strongly against.


The Extremes

(Precincts where vote differential was greatest.)

Precinct For Against Margin Winning%
148 1,951 1,500 451 56.5%
420 969 716 253 57.5%
461 1,193 948 245 55.7%
342 1,775 1,544 231 53.5%
352 1,530 1,314 216 53.8%
460 1,082 866 216 55.5%
136 1,599 1,390 209 53.5%
332 1,084 875 209 55.3%
440 988 804 184 55.1%
433 733 558 175 56.8%
354 1,289 1,687 -398 56.7%
214 460 862 -402 65.2%
249 817 1,242 -425 60.3%
347 1,123 1,571 -448 58.3%
231 761 1,219 -458 61.6%
253 815 1,286 -471 61.2%
337 833 1,364 -531 62.1%
256 686 1,226 -540 64.1%
345 690 1,241 -551 64.3%
367 1,567 2,211 -644 58.5%

Note that in Prop. 2's strongest precincts, the margin was often modest, but in its weakest ones, Prop. 2 was beaten more soundly. In the 10 boxes that provided the greatest vote differential, Prop. 2 won by 2,389 votes, and it didn't hit 58% in any precinct. In the 10 precincts where it gave up the most votes, it lost by 4,868 votes and a better than 61%-39% margin.


Power Boxes

Precinct For Against Margin Total Votes
367 1,567 2,211 -644 3,778
148 1,951 1,500 451 3,451
342 1,775 1,544 231 3,319
366 1,491 1,735 -244 3,226
328 1,371 1,750 -379 3,121
349 1,479 1,525 -46 3,004
136 1,599 1,390 209 2,989
354 1,289 1,687 -398 2,976
242 1,516 1,445 71 2,961
352 1,530 1,314 216 2,844
266 1,398 1,314 84 2,712
347 1,123 1,571 -448 2,694
406 1,331 1,317 14 2,648
360 1,283 1,271 12 2,554
350 1,287 1,219 68 2,506
277 1,289 1,172 117 2,461
355 1,257 1,181 76 2,438
262 1,088 1,342 -254 2,430
429 1,257 1,097 160 2,354
218 1,020 1,315 -295 2,335

Among the Top 20 "power boxes" – those with the most voters – Prop. 2 actually won 12. But again: The victories here were modest (average win: 142 votes), while the failures tended to be more spectacular (average loss: 339).

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