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Binder post-election analysis

District 6 voters chose Daly policy record over style

Photo by Adam Aufdencamp

By Greg Dewar

November 9, 2006

Local politicians, political insiders, and members of the general public gathered at SPUR headquarters Wednesday for what has become a post-election ritual in San Francisco - listening to pollster David Binder discuss the results of the November 7th Election and discuss the implications for future races.

Research methodologist David Binder (left). File photo.
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

Speaking first about the national elections, in which Democrats won the House and the Senate, Binder said that the electorate was focused on national issues saying, "The voters' demands for change in Iraq was a big motivator for getting people to vote."

Binder noted that when focus groups were asked what issues on the state ballot would motivate them to go to the polls, nothing stood out, and there was no "lighting rod" ballot measure locally, either, but turnout this year was higher than other off-years, with 57% of eligible voters participating.

Binder also noted some interesting statistics as he discussed the statewide vote - the percentage of voters registered as Democratic continued to decline to a new low of only 43% of registered voters, registered Republicans were 34% of voters, while "decline to state" (DTS) or "independent" voters continued to grow, now representing 23% of the voting public. Binder said that of the 11 Supervisorial districts, District 8 had the most Democratic voters and District 4 had the most DTS voters.

Of particular interest to the audience were the results in Supervisorial Districts 4 and 6. In District 4, where early returns indicate candidate Ron Dudum with a slight lead over candidates Ed Jew and Jaynry Mak, Binder told audience members this would be an election where the implementation of Ranked Choice Voting would have a significant effect - but what exactly that effect would be, he said, was difficult to say.

"Frankly, we don't know what's going to happen," Binder said, "owing to the difficulty of predicting how people's second and third choices may or may not play out."

As of press time, Dudum had 27% of the vote, Ed Jew had 25%, Jaynry Mak had 23% and Doug Chan had 16%. According to Binder approximately 70,000 votes citywide have yet to be counted, although it was unclear how many of those would end up being from District 4.

To many cheers, Binder discussed the results of the District 6 election, which he characterized as a traditional "one on one" race, and not affected by RCV in the same way as the race in District 4. One thing that polling found was that although Daly had high "unfavorable" ratings in his district, many voters still chose Daly based on his record, indicating that many voters were willing to distinguish between style and policy.

Daly campaign strategists Bill Barnes, Boris Delepine and John Avalos
discuss Binder's post-election analysis.
Photo by Adam Aufdencamp

Binder also talked about the effect of polling data on the race. "It's my view that after polls were released indicating that Rob Black was in the lead, there was a real galvanizing of progressives citywide, and that inspired lots of volunteers and a GOTV effort for Daly in the end."

When asked if absentees would potentially push Black up to victory, Binder responded, "IRV is unlikely to change the results of the election."

Binder also discussed the returns for the various propositions at the state and local level. Interestingly, according to Binder, only San Francisco County voted against Proposition 83, which would place new limits on where registered sex offenders could live. The irony, Binder noted, was that under the law, San Francisco would not have any sex offenders living in the City, while rural and industrial areas, which voted heavily for the measure, would be where convicted sex offenders would have to move to in order to comply with the law.

Binder wrapped up the discussion by discussing the implications of the vote for the Mayoral contest in 2007 and other races in the future. Binder felt that one lesson learned from the 2006 races was that candidates still matter most in determining who wins and loses.

One question he raised with the audience was the idea of Gov. Schwarzenegger challenging Senator Boxer in 2010, noting that Schwarzenegger's success has been based largely on his willingness to work closely with Democrats to pass legislation.

Also discussed was the possiblity of a well-funded challenger to Newsom, given the outcome of the elections in 2005 and 2006. Binder's opinion is that a challenger to Newsom would have to be an "outsider", and not come from the traditional "left" or "right" in city politics to have a chance at ousting Newsom.

Greg Dewar is a writer and political advisor living in San Francisco. He is the author of The N Judah Chronicles, which covers urban life and MUNI issues, and gregdewar.com, where he writes on current events. Email Greg at greg@dewar.us.




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