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IL-05: A Detailed Look at the Special Election

by: jeffmd

Thu Mar 05, 2009 at 11:24 PM EST


(More phenomenal work from jeffmd - promoted by James L.)

If I lived a few miles south, I'd live smack in the middle of Illinois' 5th Congressional District.

Given that 12 candidates were running in the election on Tuesday - and that Quigley won with no more than 25% of the vote, I wanted to take a detailed look at the results by precinct.

A few Saturdays ago, I was running errands in Ravenswood. As I rode the Brown Line south towards the Loop, I noticed a distinct pattern in yard (or perhaps more accurately, window) signs - each neighborhood had the majority of signs supporting one candidate. North-South, they roughly went O'Connor, then Fritchey, then Quigley, then Feigenholtz.

So using the results available from the Chicago BoE, I tried to see if these yard signs were actually reflective. I also look at if each candidate did better in the district (whether State House, County Commissioner, or City Ward) that they represented.

I only got around to analyzing results within the city of Chicago though. Illinois (go figure) establishes separate election authorities for the City of Chicago and Suburban Cook County, and the Cook Suburbs didn't give me the requisite shapefiles to play with.

So, here's the goody that I think we're all waiting for: the winner by precinct (within the City of Chicago).

More maps and results below the flip.

jeffmd :: IL-05: A Detailed Look at the Special Election
Of course, this map doesn't show what the magnitude of the win in each precinct was, so this is a map that does. The legend might be unclear, so a color in the first column of the box indicates a precinct won by a candidate with 0-20%. In the second column, 20-30%, etc.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Grey indicates a tie in both maps. Just some quick qualitative comments: Wheelan's 7 precincts all came in Lincoln Park - the most affluent neighborhood of Chicago. Feigenholtz's strength was in Lakeview, especially in Chicago's LGBT center along North Halsted. Fritchey did well in Rahm's homebase of North Center, as well as some outlying precincts here and there. Forys did best in Portage Park - a predominantly Polish neighborhood, and O'Connor did well in his base in Lincoln Square. Quigley's strongholds are harder to point out - some precincts in Albany Park and Irving Park in the center of the district, but also the sliver of Edgewater that isn't in the 9th CD, and much of Wrigleyville and Lakeview beyond Belmont.

Just to recap, here were the results from the city of Chicago:

Wheelan Feigenholtz Fritchey Forys Geoghegan Quigley O'Connor Other
5th CD 3,501 8,261 9,147 5,495 3,228 11,551 6,139 3,452
6.90% 16.27% 18.02% 10.82% 6.36% 22.75% 12.09% 6.80%

Overall, there are 486 precincts in the Chicago part of the district. Quigley won 153, Fritchey 98, Forys 90, Feigenholtz and O'Connor 57 each, and Wheelan 7. Additionally, 23 precincts were tied.

So sure, the maps are pretty and all, but what do they actually indicate? Well, let's break it down by the various districts involved.

For those of you keeping score:

-Fritchey represents the 11th Legislative District; Feigenholtz represents the 12th.
-Quigley represents the 10th Cook County Commissioner District.
-O'Connor represents the 40th Ward of the City of Chicago.

So by LD first:

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Wheelan Feigenholtz Fritchey Forys Geoghegan Quigley O'Connor Other
11th LD 1,244 1,674 2,238 94 865 2,812 591 438
12.49% 16.81% 22.48% 0.94% 8.69% 28.24% 5.94% 4.40%
12th LD 652 2,587 440 74 413 1,916 184 238
10.02% 39.78% 6.77% 1.14% 6.35% 29.46% 2.83% 3.66%
Other LD 1,605 4,000 6,469 5,327 1,950 6,823 5,364 2,776
4.68% 11.66% 18.85% 15.52% 5.68% 19.88% 15.63% 8.09%

As you can see, Feigenholtz clearly had the 'in-district' effect - earning 40% within the 12th LD compared to 13% outside. She dominated here, winning 42 of 63 precincts, including half with 45%+.
The effect for Fritchey is less clear, he earned 22% within the 11th LD compared to 17% outside. He carried 26 of 91 precincts, compared to Quigley's 48.

For Cook County Commission Districts:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Wheelan Feigenholtz Fritchey Forys Geoghegan Quigley O'Connor Other
10th Commis. 1,296 3,577 1,089 235 795 3,477 1,876 508
10.08% 27.83% 8.47% 1.83% 6.19% 27.05% 14.60% 3.95%
Other Commis. 2,205 4,684 8,058 5,260 2,433 8,074 4,263 2,944
5.81% 12.35% 21.25% 13.87% 6.42% 21.29% 11.24% 7.76%

The effect for Quigley is of questionable magnitude as well. He got 27% inside the 10th Commis, compared to 21% outside. Precinct-wise, his numbers weren't amazing either, winning 37 of 121 - compared to Fritchey's 48. For those of you with fast math skills, that means Quigley won 30.5% of precincts within his district and 32% of those not. Go figure.

Incidentally, yes, the 10th Commissioner district is contiguous - it simply runs outside the 5th, so I did not display it here.

Lastly, by city ward:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Wheelan Feigenholtz Fritchey Forys Geoghegan Quigley O'Connor Other
40th Ward 97 323 197 16 200 445 1,562 91
3.31% 11.02% 6.72% 0.55% 6.82% 15.18% 53.29% 3.10%
Other Wards 3,404 7,938 8,950 5,479 3,028 11,106 4,577 3,361
7.11% 16.59% 18.71% 11.45% 6.33% 23.21% 9.57% 7.03%
The 'home district' effect is clearest for 40th Ward Alderman O'Connor. He earned a stunning 53% within his ward, compared to 10% throughout the rest of the city. He swept 22 of 27 precincts as well. 12 of these 22 yielded 60%+ for him. Remnants of the machine? I'll leave you to decide.

So was there a home district effect? Maybe. I think Quigley was able to win simply because he wasn't limited to it. He was able to perform consistently both within and outside the 10th Commissioner district - enough to squeeze out a win.

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I hope Quigley wins with 90%
the Repub in this race is racist Freeper and the head of the Illinois Minutemen whose handle is chicagolady, and has written a whole bunch of outrageous and racist statements  

Quigley, the first candidate to sink an opponent purely based on internet conduct?


party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

[ Parent ]
or maybe
Rosanna Pulido, the first candidate to sink himself/herself due to internet conduct.

Oh wait, Mark Foley.

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01


[ Parent ]
thanks for this
exceptional work and marvelously illustrative. I appreciate the work you put into this.

again, just exceptional
and the obvious conclusion to draw is Quigley's landing of the papers' endorsement is the reason he drew a decent level of support across district lines while the rest stayed concentrated and limited to their base areas, with the exception of Feigenholtz with her support from national organizations and higher paid media.

Newspapers may be bleeding money and teetering on their last legs, but they still have Old School clout in a Mongolian cluster of a multi-candidate race. And, with Wheelan and Geohegan trying to draw from the same well, neither was able to break out New Jack style.

With the collapsed time frame of this primary race, there are not many lessons we can draw from this which are widely (let alone universally) applicable, but fascinating nonetheless.

If there is a lesson, it is relying heavily on one's geographic base to provide a margin is not a wise strategy in a crowded field. Against one or two others, sure. But, when there are beaucoups of candidates, your base area floor and ceilings are going to be lowered. Got to come up with some votes outside your base.


Newspaper endorsements
Agreed -- this is an outstanding diary.  The next time someone says airily that newspaper endorsements never matter -- as some did before this election -- this is the answer to provide.  The geographical spread of Quigley's support is amazing.

Would you consider doing other maps showing each major candidate's support by themselves (which I think would show this effect even more clearly) and perhaps one which shows who finished second in each area?  That would also hammer down the point.


[ Parent ]
I don't know
I was talking to someone very well-connected in the area, and he said that he didn't think the newspaper endorsements actually mattered. I don't know what the numbers are, but supposedly circulation of the Tribune and the Sun-Times aren't great in that area. He felt that Quigley just had a solid, old-school ground game.

What he also said was that among the dozen or so direct mail pieces Quigley sent out, he emphasized the endorsements. So I guess it wasn't so much getting the endorsement as it was touting the endorsement that helped him.

I don't really know, though. I'm not a local, and I don't have any real knowledge of the area.


[ Parent ]
Awesome work.
Do you live in Evanston, perchance? I used to live there (I went to Northwestern).  

likewise
then spent the last winter of my MS disaster at Clark & Diversey.  Oh my, what a different world that was.

[ Parent ]
I do indeed.
I'm still in the NU bubble. Not really looking forward to this 'real world' business.

[ Parent ]
this is great...
thanks for the maps!

this leads me to a question i've had for awhile...where do all you get your maps to color code them? do you use a specific program?

i've wanted to so some county level maps for several states but am unsure where to get county level maps that i can color code.


I used MapWindow GIS
which is open source and free. Shapefiles are available from various sources. I got mine here from the City of Chicago. The Census Bureau has detailed collections of every state and county.

Once I have a shapefile, I add the attributes necessary (in this case, winner and winning percentage), and then create a coloring scheme as necessary.


[ Parent ]

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