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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Number Cruncher: Could A Minority Candidate Come Close Winning Democratic Primary?

Can a long shot candidate, who's not even looked at, emerge as a top tier candidate, or even enter the run-off? The possibility and the chance of anyone hoping for this outcome are very low, yet given the demographics of the NYC population, we might wake up one day rubbing our eyes out of surprise.

The aggregate minority vote (black, Hispanic, Asian and multiracial) will this year cast 56 to 58 percent of the total vote in the Democratic primary, Bruce N. Gyory writes in the City and State NY. This means that a candidate emerging from a white base would have to garner 40 percent of the minority vote to win a Democratic runoff or a two-person general election. Alternatively, a candidate with a unified minority base (black, Hispanic or Asian), or a candidate that manages to assemble a coalition of one minority community with multiracial communities, would need only a third of the white vote to win a Democratic runoff or a general election.

In 2009, where Bill Thompson did surprisingly well on election night, the minority vote was at 54 percent. The shocking close race, was due to the fact that Bill Thompson was able to get 80 percent of blacks, 65 percent of Hispanics, a narrow majority of Asians and only 29 percent of white voters against Mayor  Bloomberg.

As an example, Bruce Gyory points out at Joe Lhota's favorability in the multi candidate GOP field. No Italian-American has lost a Republican primary citywide or statewide in almost a half century (e.g., Marchi in 1969, D’Amato in 1980, Giuliani in 1989 and DioGuardi in 2010), he writes  In New York City, 78 percent of the GOP’s registration base is in the outer boroughs, where Italian-American homeowners cast an overwhelming share of the GOP’s primary vote. Consequently, Joe Lhota, backed by Rudy Giuliani, is understandably favored to win the Republican primary. However, if John Catsimatidis runs, his resources could damage Lhota in the primary, just as Ron Lauder did to Giuliani in 1989. Catsimatidis could leapfrog Lhota, or his anti-Lhota barrage could open the door for George McDonald, Tom Allon or Adolfo CarriĆ³n to walk over to victory as Bob Abrams did against Geraldine Ferraro and Liz Holtzman in the 1992 U.S. Senate primary.

Crunching the numbers, while most pundits project that around 500,000 votes will be cast in the Democratic primary. Gyory believes turnout will increase by a substantial number that could reach 700,000 voters, since every Democratic primary for mayor in which Democratic voters felt the winner of the primary could be the next mayor, turnout was at least 700,000 (1961, 1965, 1969, 1973, 1977, 1989 and 2001). Democratic turnout only dipped below 700,000 when voters sensed there was no real contest (Koch 1981 and 1985) or when they knew the outcome would be determined in November (Giuliani 1993 and 1997 and Bloomberg 2005 and 2009).

Another factor to follow in this race will be the two competing majorities within the Democratic primary, for not only will 56 to 58 percent of the vote be minority, but 56 to 58 percent will also be female. Christine Quinn's hopes lays in her expectations that minority women will vote like Women, while the minority candidates are determined to  seek a majority of the minority vote, regardless of gender.

Given the fact that the Latino vote has grown to become the City's 2nd largest ethnic group, increasing to 28% in 2009, according to the latest study. Or, as a matter of fact, the 23% of Black-non Hispanic population. Anyone like Bill Thompson, Sal Albanese, or even Erick Salgado, a Hispanic Pastor who has not officially declared his candidacy but has indicated he's running, who would manage to get 70-75% of their base vote, could emerge as the 2nd candidate in place to face a run off against the candidate who emerges in 1st place but with less than 40 percent.

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