Who says talking politics has to be taboo? At SRQ, Senior Editor Jacob Ogles makes it his mission to report on the political climate of our city, county and state by learning about the issues facing our community, candidates and their platforms, and at the close of each race: the voter data. On Tuesday, March 24th, SRQ Magazine and Jacob Ogles hosted Where the Votes Are, a political discussion and presentation centered on the recent Sarasota City Commission election. A group of Sarasota’s political watchers gathered at SRQ Studios to enjoy breakfast and a breakdown of the election results. Jacob presented the demographic outline of District 2 and District 3’s voters as well as detailed precinct results and a historical comparison of voter turnout from the elections in May of 2013 and March of 2011.
As election results and voter information became available, Jacob spent countless hours reviewing the data to prepare for the presentation. Here’s what we learned from his findings:
Democratic participation was effective in District 2. Normile only won precincts where Republicans outnumbered Democrats. But party ID meant little in District 3, where Zimmerman won a largely Democratic region.
- Neighborhood influence has ebbed in District 2 a bit more each election cycle. Chapman lost this district while winning the city. Clapp narrowly lost but by less. Normile did do better downtown.
- More than 1,000 new voters participated in the District 2 election this year than the 2013 contest, but there were also more than 2,000 who voted in 2013 and sat this one out. In District 3, new voters outnumbered old ones who sat out.
- District 3 is a more racially diverse district, but minority voters had a lower turnout.
- Women had a much better turnout and sent three women to the runoff, guaranteeing a majority female commission.
- Voters under 60 in District 3 outnumber older voters by roughly 50 percent, but voters over 60 showed up in three times the number of younger voters.
- In District 2, where older voters do outnumber younger voters, turnout was more disparate. More voters over 90 came out than voters under 40.
Special thanks to those who joined us for the early morning political discussion and for contributing to the thriving local political scene. A gallery of images from Where the Votes Are can be viewed here. To download Jacob’s presentation and handout, click here.