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Mayoral Runoff Election Eve Analysis (February 2014)

Monday, February 10, 2014

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SAN DIEGO - On the eve of Election Day, the National University System Institute for Policy Research (NUSIPR) projects a close race between Councilmember Kevin Faulconer and Councilmember David Alvarez. Using election data from the Registrar of Voters, NUSIPR evaluated the absentee ballots received for the February 11th runoff election.

Overall, we found that:

Democratic voters have come on strong. While Republican ballots have a higher return rate, more Democratic ballots have been cast than GOP ballots.

More than 40,000 ballots have been cast by voters who are registered with neither political party, leaving the outcome still very much in doubt.

Most Absentee ballots are mostly cast by voters located north of Interstate 8. Typically these neighborhoods, irrespective of partisan breakdown, favor more conservative candidates.

Voter turnout will be higher for the February 2014 election than the November 2013 election. Based on the rate of absentee ballot returns, NUSIPR projects a 42%-45% voter turnout rate. This is notably higher than the November 2013 turnout rate of 35%.

More than 100,000 ballots will be cast on Election Day. Approximately three out of ten (30%) ballots will be cast at polling locations on Election Day. Combined with absentee ballots turned in to polling locations on Tuesday, the Election Day ballot tally will likely exceed 100,000.

President Obama’s endorsement of Alvarez will generate voter interest. Due to the “Obama factor,” we expect more voters, particularly Democratic voters, to tune in to the election and take a closer look at the candidates.

“Polling shows that Faulconer maintains a narrow lead in this election,” remarked Vince Vasquez, author of the report. “Alvarez will have to generate a higher Democratic turnout on Election Day in order to win. With Obama an unknown factor in this race, it may be a late evening for poll watchers.”