5 Quick Facts: The Black Vote Factor in Yesterday’s Contest

The victors: newly re-elected Mayor Rick Kriseman and Deputy Mayor Dr. Kanika Tomalin at last night’s celebration

– By Gypsy C. Gallardo

Yesterday’s black vote was bigger than it’s ever been in a mayoral election in St. Petersburg; and it clearly broke for incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman in a contest that may have foundationally altered the city’s black vote formula.

What does it say that former Mayor Rick Baker lost ground across the board in the city’s black precincts, compared to his performance in the primary? What does it mean that African Americans veered from the decades-old pattern of voting as a bloc? How big a role did Donald Trump play in Baker’s demise?

I hope we grapple with all of the above in due time (theories welcome).

For now, though, here are 5 quick facts on the African American factor in this year’s race, strictly by the numbers.

1. Kriseman’s margin of victory in St. Petersburg’s majority-black precincts* was larger in the general election than it was two months ago in the primary. On August 29th, Kriseman won the black precincts by a hair (46.3% to Baker’s 45.7%). On November 7th, Kriseman won the same precincts by close to 5 points (52.3% to Baker’s 47.7%).

2. Kriseman won a larger number of black precincts this go ‘round. In the primary, Kriseman was the victor in the largest black precincts, but only took a minority share of them (6 of the 18 black precincts). In last night’s tally, he claimed 10 of the 18.

3. The vote count in majority-black precincts was over 11,000 in yesterday’s contest. Though we will not have demographic data on black and white vote counts for another several days, the precinct-level data show record-setting levels of black voter participation. For comparison sake, there were 9,600 votes from black precincts in the August primary.

4. The turnout rate in precincts where African Americans are a majority of voters was 33% in the November 7th competition (versus 29% in this year’s primary and 29% in the 2013 general election).

5. Broken down by majority-black neighborhoods, Rick Baker won the Midtown and Childs Park precincts once again in the November 7th general, though by much smaller margins than he did in the primary; his margin in Childs Park was less than one and a half percent. Kriseman won in the other majority-black areas, including the areas surrounding Lake Maggiore, Lakewood Estates and parts of Pinellas Point.

Majority-Black Areas Baker Kriseman Winner Victory Margin
Midtown 52.6% 47.4% Baker 5.1%
Childs Park 50.7% 49.3% Baker 1.3%
East & West of Lake Maggiore 45.9% 54.1% Kriseman 8.3%
Lakewood Estates 41.1% 58.9% Kriseman 17.8%
Pinellas Point 41.1% 58.9% Kriseman 17.8%

*The terms “majority-black precincts” and “black precincts” refer to the 18 precincts where African Americans were a majority of voters in the August 29th 2017 primary election.  

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