Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Why does Wake outvote Meck?

Why are there so many more voters casting ballots in Wake than Mecklenburg?
In Tuesday’s primary election, there were more voters in both the Democratic and Republican primaries in Wake County than in Mecklenburg.
That's a little strange because there are nearly 30,000 more registered voters in Mecklenburg - 571,889, according to the State Board of Elections Web site, compared to 542,358 in Wake.
But the highest number of voters in any race in the two counties showed that more Democrats and more Republicans turned out to vote in Wake than in Mecklenburg. That's based only on the current unofficial returns posted on the board of elections' Web site, and the figures could change.
In the Democratic presidential primary, 162,936 voters turned out in Wake, but only 150,561 in Mecklenburg.
In the Republican primaries, 45,587 Republicans turned out to vote in the presidential primary in Wake; in Mecklenburg, the largest turnout of Republicans was not in the presidential primary but the gubernatorial race: 43,278 Republicans. (Only 43,067 turned out to vote in the presidential primary, which of course wasn’t the top draw on the ballot, with Sen. John McCain all but having it wrapped up, while local Mayor Pat McCrory was a big draw in the governor's race.)
What do you think accounts for the apparent greater interest in voting in Wake? And does that say anything about other differences between the state's two population centers?

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hate to say it, but I had to use the Raleigh N&O for the majority of my candidate research. The Observer / Charlotte.com coverage was spotty at best, and included many broken links and empty pages.

It appears to me Raleigh’s paper focus much more on politics than Charlotte’s. We also never hear anything of the actions in the state government on the local TV news. This lack of information is sure to bred voter apathy.

Jenifer - Young, Gifted & Black said...

More edcucated voting population.

Anonymous said...

The Great State of Mecklenburg realizes that voting is futile against the Eastern NC machine?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the political parties have better organizations in Raleigh than they do here. The Mecklenburg County Republicans do very little to get out the vote--they've ignored the suburbs for years.

Anonymous said...

People in Wake County are protecting their cushy state jobs by voting.

Anonymous said...

Meck residents keep forgetting they are actually part of North Carolina.

Anonymous said...

Raleigh is, by definition, a gummint town. So it should really come as no surprise that people there are more political animals and vote more regularly than those in Charlotte, whose focus is on bidness rather than gummint.

Please understand that I am not applauding voter apathy but I think that's the difference. Maybe Mayor McCrory being the GOP nominee for governor will increase our turnout at the polls.

David McKnight said...

These are some great comments, insights and humorous asides. Very entertaining and informative!

As a Mecklenburg native who once worked at The News & Observer from the spring of 1972 just before the Watergate break-in until the autumn of 1974 just after the resignation of President Nixon, I came to a view on this question then that I still hold today: in Raleigh, Wake County and the entire Research Triangle region, politics seems more personal every day of the week than it does back home in Charlotte.

In basketball terms, it's as if every week were ACC tournament week if you can imagine that. Now I am one who really enjoy politics, journalism, Sunday news talk shows, campaigns and all the rest. But this is the first place I have ever lived in my life (including political active cities such as Boston and Austin) where the level of political intensity is so high, well frankly even this would-be wonk would rather write songs some nights rather than watch the news.

People vote in Wake County in high numbers because campaigns and elections are like riding into town for supplies out in the American West--you really want to pay close attention that you're not forgetting something or it could be a long time before you can get all the supplies you need.

Voting at home in Mecklneburg was an act of civic expression and often political joy or contented responsibility. Voting in Wake County and in neighboring Durham County is like an act of self-defense!

In fact, the in-fighting at the local level here is so intense, in the last two presidential elections--in 2004 and this one--the local elections board offices in each county maintained that I was not even eligible to vote even though I was.

So around here in Raleigh and Durham, those who actually do manage to get "clearance" to vote rarely pass up the chance to do so. At least, that's this ex-Charlottean's take on the whole thing.

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