Thursday, April 24, 2008

Our Population Has Declined Since the Storm, Alright?

This Times Picayune article details the findings of a new study by University of New Orleans political scientist Ed Chevernak.

Though voter rolls have remained virtually untouched since the flood, the comparison of voter turnout in the 2003 and 2007 gubernatorial contests shows that about 100,000 fewer people cast ballots last year in New Orleans and seven surrounding parishes than in the 2003 race.

Losses weren't borne equally by racial and party-affiliated groups, according to the analysis by University of New Orleans political scientist Ed Chervenak. For instance, a disproportionate loss among black voters across the region helped drive up white voters' share of the electorate, from two-thirds in 2003 to nearly three-quarters last year.

Democrats also lost ground, with their participation sliding from 58 percent of the electorate in 2003 to 51 percent in 2007, the report shows. Republicans, meanwhile, saw their share of the voting population jump from 28 percent to 33 percent during the period.

Chevernak's report states the obvious fact that the city and region have lost population as a result of the storm and that this means our region is less politically influential.

However, Chevernak analysis compares the 2007 gubernatorial contest to that in 2003 as the telltale evidence.

Why not just look at the population figures? What do the voter turnout numbers tell you about our population loss that the population figures can't?

To me, the 2007 gubernatorial election was a sham. The election Bobby Jindal seemed to be a foregone conclusion for the entire cycle. There were no Democratic candidates remotely capable of raising money or inspiring local voters. There were no voter registration drives. People in this city, disproportionately Democratic voters, are disillusioned with the electoral system and with local officials of all stripes. I don't want to say that people elsewhere in Louisiana aren't disillusioned by politics, but it's not a stretch to say that New Orleanians carry some extra pebbles in their shoes that might irritate feet enough to stay home on election day. (Disproportionate to the population)

Get my point?

What was the purpose of Chevernak's study? Seriously, why not just look at the population?

Seems like a wash to me.

The Times Picayune headline was "It's Official," as if the UNO team had actually provided something of note.

1 comment:

Adrastos said...

Jindal was going to be a shoo-in unless Meemaw had succeeded as Governor, which she did not. He spent buckets of money in 2003 and nearly won, which was why no well known Dem even tried the race. Population shift and a demoralized electorate may have added an eenie weenie amount to his total at best.