The Power of Boxes

Some precincts can turn an election; others can't

The Power of Boxes

Not all precincts are created equal: Due to population, voter turnout, and usually both, some boxes are particularly rich in votes and crucial to win. In these precincts, the tale of who won and why often can be found – especially in victories as solid as those of Lee Leffingwell and Chris Riley. The power boxes are outlined.

342 (Barton Hills Elementary, South)1,148680276154683407
256 (Casis Elementary, West)900358270244670178
242 (Crestview Methodist, Central)884526212115589256
347 (Hill Country Middle, SW)852370277166533196
354 (Travis County Office, SW)843392236178542225
262 (Anderson High, NW)793301249217550193
253 (First Presbyterian, NW)775314262178565145
367 (Kiker Elementary, SW)770285274163470214
236 (Rosedale Elementary, Central)75944120982488237
332 (Zilker Elementary, South)75753313073435292
239 (Gullett Elementary, North)746423196105484232
231 (Murchison Middle, West)740286256163498196
136 (Ridgetop Elementary, Central)72345517960492184
251 (O. Henry Middle, Central)701369199100471194
152 (Maplewood Elementary, East)70045416368465192
337 (Lakewood HOA, West)699292215150440177
328 (Renaissance Retirement, NW)698294209159448179
278 (St. Luke United Methodist, West)694315224125484156
237 (Highland Park Baptist, West)677322201129484149
366 (Mills Elementary, SW)677326171141402228

(Totals for Josiah Ingalls and David Buttross omitted.)

(Totals may not add up due to undervotes or voters who don't live in the city of Austin.)


Not a whole lot of complex analysis needed here, and this may be what convinced Brewster McCracken to throw in the towel: Of the 20 biggest boxes in Austin, Leffingwell won them all, and in the ones marked in bold, he won majorities, including a whopping 71% in the 332nd Precinct.

By contrast, Carole Keeton Strayhorn and McCracken won majorities in only four precincts each, mostly in low-turnout boxes.

Place 1

The Power of Boxes

Leffingwell's story is repeated here with Riley: a clean sweep of the 20 precincts that matter most. This not only says a lot about which areas of town control Austin's politics; it also says something about the poor voter turnout in other areas and possibly among Austin's Latinos – a group that, given its size, really ought to be more of a force in local elections.

Looking at the map, it's apparent that Perla Cavazos did best in the Southeast, but that just doesn't count for much – the 23 precincts in which she won or tied cast only 2,888 votes total, less than this list's Top 3 combined. There's likely a message in there about the need for single-member districts.


Total Voters*10,7948,9776,48011,4513,08817,20758,630
Turnout*14.8% 11.2% 10.2% 14.2% 6.1% 15.1% 13.0%
Lee Leffingwell 5,99555.5% 3,65940.8% 3,28250.6% 6,04152.8% 1,32743.0% 7,14341.3% 27,44747.2%
Brewster McCracken 2,98827.7% 2,37426.4% 1,41821.9% 2,72023.8% 67221.8% 5,39831.2% 15,57026.8%
Carole K. Strayhorn 1,47613.7% 2,39326.7% 1,50823.3% 2,14618.7% 89929.1% 4,02823.3% 12,45021.4%
David Buttross 2662.5% 4735.3% 2133.3% 4513.9% 1434.6% 6833.9% 2,2293.8%
Josiah Ingalls 690.6% 780.9% 590.9% 930.8% 471.5% 550.3% 4010.7%
Chris Riley 7,12969.9% 5,35167.4% 3,66259.8% 6,24157.8% 1,51351.6% 11,30971.9% 35,20565.5%
Perla Cavazos 3,06530.1% 2,59432.6% 2,45840.2% 4,55842.2% 1,42148.4% 4,42728.1% 18,52334.5%
Mike Martinez 8,34387.5% 6,46383.4% 5,03084.9% 8,78284.6% 2,31881.2% 12,69485.2% 43,63085.0%
Jose Quintero 1,19012.5% 1,29116.6% 89615.1% 1,59815.4% 53518.8% 2,20814.8% 7,71815.0%
Sheryl Cole 8,20186.4% 6,24680.5% 5,07384.7% 8,45183.2% 2,24479.3% 12,32082.6% 42,53583.2%
Sam Osemene 1,28913.6% 1,50919.5% 91615.3% 1,71116.8% 58520.7% 2,59717.4% 8,60716.8%

The Power of Boxes

* Total number of voters and turnout percentages are not exact due to undervotes and voters who don't live in the city of Austin.

Figures shown in bold indicate the region in which each candidate had his or her best showing in terms of percentage.

Download these election results and maps (PDF ).

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