The Seattle Times has a new map out ($) that shows the results of the mayor’s race by precinct. Although both McGinn and Murray have publicly expressed pro-transit and pro-density positions to some degree or another, it’s pretty clear that the denser precincts favored McGinn in the primary. The results are actually somewhat similar to those of the 2009 McGinn vs. Mallahan race, which suggest that McGinn has a fairly loyal voter base.

There are some other interesting observations to note:

  • Steinbrueck won only a handful of precincts: the most notable being central South Lake Union, home to many SLU upzone opponents and Mirabella, one of Steinbrueck’s clients.
  • Harrell fared best in Leschi, Rainier Beach, and portions of south Beacon Hill and Mount Baker, which suggest that he did well among minority voters. Interestingly enough, most of the rest of Beacon Hill and Rainier Valley favored McGinn.
  • Murray dominated West Seattle west of Fauntleroy with the exception of a few precincts in Admiral. It’s not clear if McGinn’s denial recommendation to deny Whole Foods’ alley vacation request had any impact on voters leading up to the primary.

The map is below the jump.

30 Replies to “Correlations Between Density and the Mayoral Race”

  1. What’s really amazing to me in that map is how Murray trounced Steinbrueck in the low-density neighborhoods. The Lesser Seattle crowd seems to be unable to translate the noise they make into actual votes. I’m hopeful that a few more results like this will give Metro and SDOT some spine to make modernizing changes to the street and transit networks in the city.

    1. While it is possible that reports of Lesser Seattle’s death have been greatly exaggerated, Steinbreuck’s trouncing is a very positive sign. His name alone should have been worth 15 points so his meager 16 is pretty embarrassing.

      Unfortunately his base are the kind to angrily pack public meetings so I doubt there will be any sudden transformation in policy, but just a gradual, grinding improvement.

      1. So it sounds like the solution is to respond in kind and pack those same meetings with people who are pro transit and pro growth.

        If they can’t get out the vote, then there can’t be more of them than there are of us.

      2. Ah, but there are more of them* that are retired with endless amounts of free time than there are of us. If only we could move democracy online…

        * this comment contains stereotyping extrapolated from personal observation

      3. Has anybody tried making public comment meetings online? I know they tend to attract the most passionate members of the community, which don’t necessarily reflect the views of the community as a whole. Making them viewable online could change that. Even better if people can participate from online (and I feel like most people these days have cameras on their computers and phones that would allow them to do so).

      4. ” just a gradual, grinding improvement”

        Well said, although somewhat heavy on the euphemism. How about “more frequent grave dancing”?

    2. Also proud to note that McGinn beat Steinbrueck (although Murray beat them both) in my low-density, gray-haired precinct.

  2. I’m surprised that McGinn isn’t doing better in West Seattle considering his support for it getting light rail while Murray hasn’t been all that forthright about where he stands on intra-city transit–maybe the grass is perceived to be greener on the other side.

    I believe the campaign of Steinbrueck would have gotten much more traction around 25 years ago when there were more “Lessers” (no pun intended) living in the city who would have supported his parochial status quo stands on density and transit. Majority transplants who want better transit service and pragmatic density development beg to differ.

    Harrell not only has problems due to his parochial appeals of “hey I’m a local guy who played football at the U-Dub and has a nice family”, but his emphasis on riding the minority demographic to victory is unrealistic when that voting demographic constitutes a very small portion of the city.

    1. Harrell ran a pretty weak campaign and he failed to make a distinction between himself and mayor. It didn’t help that he has only been city councilman for one term. His only chance was if other candidates (especially Murray) imploded. That didn’t happen (although one candidate dropped out).

    1. If the lines on the precinct map are drawn accurately it definitely covers an area with some houses in it. I’m not sure if the military housing in the park is totally shuttered now (when I bike and run through the area I see a few cars parked there but not many, and not much activity around the houses generally), but northeast of the park proper there are quite a few houses that fit in that area.

  3. As a West Seattleite I would point out a few things. First, the Whole Foods issue was much bigger in the rest of Seattle that it was in WS. It was far more symbolic to others than a real issue out here. Secondly, Murray’s campaign targeted West Seattle with specific mailings and McGinn and others did not. Finally, McGinn’s support of light rail to West Seattle has been tepid at best.

    1. The most plausible theory about the Whole Foods thing I’ve heard is that it was a gambit for the general. It may well have prevented Murray from getting the King County Labor Council endorsement, in which case it has already begun to pay off.

    2. I think anyone folks from West Seattle are probably the most anti-status quo of any group in the city. Traffic has become a mess coming out of there. It isn’t the mayor’s fault, but they might be more open to criticism than most of the city.

  4. A lot of commenters here follow Seattle politics a lot more closely than I do, so if it’s not too off topic I’ll pose the question here: based on the primary, does McGinn have a realistic chance of pulling this out? It seems to me that the overwhelming majority of Steinbrueck voters will go to Murray, as will a majority of Harrell voters (insofar as I can imagine what a Harrell voter looks like, which I may be failing to do). This seemingly large Murray edge will be counteracted somewhat by increased turnout probably helping McGinn. But I can’t imagine enough increased turnout, or sufficiently large McGinn margins in the increased turnout, to make up the difference from the likely Harrell/Steinbrueck voters. Barring some sort of scandal or highly unexpected turn of events, Murray seems inevitable.

    I’d really love it if someone could show me where my assumptions have lead me astray.

    1. McGinn can win by getting out his loyal voting base, picking off a few precincts in N Seattle and W Seattle, by trouncing Murray in the Rainier Valley, and by hoping a decent number of Steinbreuckians stay home. Most Harrell voters will probably go for McGinn with the possible exception of wealthier spots like Seward Park, Mt Baker, and Leschi.

      Murray can win by consolidating support in W Seattle and N Seattle, taking almost all of Steinbreuck’s votes, hoping young voter turnout is lower, and picking off some more precincts on the outer fringe of McGinn-land. Think Phinney Ridge, Upper Fremont, Tangletown etc.

      I think it’s still a very tough race for McGinn and that Murray has a slight edge. It’ll be interesting to see how many people tune in as two decent men trash each other for no good reason. When the dust settles we’ll have a good mayor no matter what, even if I prefer McGinn strongly.

      1. Good perspective from Bellingham about how two decent men are likely to spend this election- unless a large number of voters like me, whatever the quality of my character- let them know we’re gonna turn off the radio every time they start.

        What I’m still waiting to hear from either remaining candidate is what positive steps they’re going to take to make Seattle different from every other desirable city in the world: a place which solves its problems by becoming too expensive for anybody with financial problems to live there.

        And then congratulating itself for its absence of problems.

        And speaking of density- which Europeans manage to handle with some grace: Am I the only one who thinks the new building on Market Street just west of 24th looks like a huge crate on its way to becoming a tenement?

        And it doesn’t even have any windows!

        Mark Dublin

    2. I tend to think Harrell voters will lean McGinn with the exception of the wealthier precincts. He’s done a bit more PR with the minority communities than Murray.

      A key for McGinn is to posture himself as the Mayor who is most in touch with the needs of the city rather than a politician who concerns appear to primarily rest with what people outside of Seattle are concerned about. McGinn also needs to sharpen the potential differences with Murray on who wants to bring light rail into the city proper as well as between the city and the suburbs vs. a shortsighted concern with intercity public transport.

    3. I think McGinn is the underdog, but he has a real chance. I agree with East Coast Cynic that he will probably pick up a majority of Harrell voters (including those sea lions — he’s pro-fish), but I don’t think he’ll get any Steinbrueck voters whatsoever. To win, he has to find a way to turn out the people in his core neighborhoods.

      Those core neighborhoods are not all of the dense neighborhoods, just those where downtown interests have less sway. His base is in Ballard, the dense areas west of I-5 and too far north to have a Lake Union view, the less affluent areas of Cap Hill, and Columbia City. He won’t do well in downtown or Belltown no matter what he tries.

      1. I’m surprised you say McGinn won’t do well in Belltown. For how many people have moved there in the past 4 years, most of them young I think McGinn would have a fighting chance. Look how close McGinn and Murray were in upper Belltown.

      2. I hear you, and this will change as more people move in, but for the moment I think the area is still dominated by downtown types. Working among them all day, I can tell you they very heavily favor Murray, and will be pulling out all the stops. I think Murray will win Belltown even more handily than he did in the primary.

  5. Any demographic breakdowns on the data? This report suggests that McGinn and Harrell did much better with lower income folks and Murray did well with the well to do. If that is the case, then McGinn stands a good chance with Harrell voters, which means he stands a really good chance of winning the race.

  6. Interesting that many of the areas where parking costs went up are happy to re-elect McGinn. Also interesting that Steinbrueck didn’t get that many votes in the areas of Capitol Hill/Fremont/Ballard where density is likely to increase next. Hopefully this primary will be seen as pro-growth, pro-density, and pro-transit.

  7. First of all, Whole Foods is not requesting an alley vacation. The fact is, they’re a likely tenement in the project requesting the alley vacation, but they do not own the project, are not financing the project, they are not building the priject, and have not themselves requested anything from anyone. I f—ing hate Whole Foods and will never set foot in the place, but I strongly support the project because it is in the best interest of my neighborhood. AND I voted for McGinn because he was the most pro-density, pro-transit candidate in the race, and still is. So no, McGinn’s stance on the project likely influenced few, if any, voters.

    1. Not that I have any problem with Murray. I voted for him when I lived on Cap Hill. But I think Seattle needs him in the Legislature rather than City Hall.

  8. I wonder if some of Murray’s support in West Seattle comes from disaffected NIckels supporters, still unhappy their guy got beat in the primary four years ago.

    That being said, the city is freaking booming. We were on the front page of the New York Times talking about all the building boom and jobs growth from Amazon (which basically puts all its good-paying jobs in Seattle and the crap jobs in the flatlands). Why isn’t McGinn basically out there saying, “Murray can’t keep his own delegation intact in the Senate, but I took over a city in the midst of a huge recession and look at all the cranes!”

    1. Because for some reason a lot of people in Seattle hate cranes, they hate progress, they seem to hate everything that ever changes.

      1. But! But cranes mean scary skyscrapers turning Seattle into NEW YORK~! Seattle should mirror all the natural beauty that surrounds it so let’s just raze it to the ground and let nature take over again!

  9. I apologize that I didn’t read all 135 posts (some denser, some lesser) before commenting. I voted for Steinbrueck for SMARTER growth, not Lesser Seattle and certainly not a laissez-faire developer’s heaven. The Lesser Seattle ship is long gone, if anyone even remembers Emmett Watson. Both candidates are going to promote and regulate growth; they have to, given the population growth we’re experiencing. There are smarter ways to go about it than what Seattle has been doing.
    I’m leaning toward Murray having watched him from my 43rd District perch since Cal annointed him for way back when (a good thing, BTW). I’m persuadable, but with Peter out, my first choice is Ed. Hizzoner has to keep digging himself out from early screw ups for me to vote for him. I’m not forgetting and I see no history of great Smart Growth strategy that makes him an automatic. I could vote easily against him on the basketball record alone, and I hardly think the outsider, sitck it to the man, mantle is birthright except in the negative sense–he has made himself an outsider. But, I’m still listening; talk it up, guys.

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