Monday, November 07, 2005

Examination of Filson claim that influx of Bay Area migrants to San Joaquin will help his chances

POSTED BY Scott Restivo,

One of the tenets of Steve Filson's campaign is that being from Danville, rather than from San Joaquin County, is an advantage, not a liability. Filson has said that the people who have moved from the Bay Area, especially the East Bay, to the less costly housing in the Central Valley will vote for someone from Danville as they would share the same political bent. Before Filson gets carried away with this assumption, let's look at the statistics:

Population of San Joaquin County:
April 2000: 563,598
July 2004: 649,868

That is an additional 86,270 in 4 years, quite a jump. In 2000, 31% were younger than 18, so we can assume the same percentage for 2004 (it is probably higher, since most likely families with children are moving there, not elderly people or single adults.)

That leaves 59,526 possible voters (69% of 86,270). The population went up in 2005 also, so let's call this 60,000 new possible voters. About 4/5 or 80% of the San Joaquin County voters are in CD-11 (the rest are in CD-18). That means about 48,000 new CD-11 voters in San Joaquin county from 2000 to 2005.

[Note: Probably more than 80% of these new San Joaquin voters are in CD-11 versus CD-18, since CD-18 takes up the central part of Stockton, a portion of the county where not many new houses are being built, but we can use this percentage for now.]

However, looking at the voter registration from 2000 compared to 2005, the number of San Joaquin CD-11 voters went from 169,000 to 198,000, an increase of about 30,000. (That leaves 18,000 potential voters unregistered in San Joaquin County's portion of the 11th District. Probably not an unusual percentage of registered voters versus eligible voters, but interesting to note that there is this potential pool.)

Next, looking at the voter registration change over the same 2000/2005 period, of these 30,000 new voters, only 4,000 became Democrats, whereas 13,500 became Republicans, with the rest in the minor parties or unaffiliated. That is quite a difference in new party registrations!

This could mean a couple of things. One, the Democratic party is not organized well in San Joaquin County and has not been aggressive in registering voters. Two, the people moving there really do favor the Republican policies and wish to be aligned with that party.

Whatever the cause, this does not bode well for Filson's assertion that Bay Area migrants are causing San Joaquin to lean left.

Of course, the figuring above still leaves 12,500 unaffiliated (or part of a minor party) new voters in the CD-11 part of the county. How do they vote? Considering that Pombo won 67/33 in San Joaquin in 2004, winning more votes than there were registered Republicans, it is very hard to make the argument that these unaffiliated voters are mostly Democrat-leaning.

My conclusion is that Filson's claim doesn't wash -- he is right that the San Joaquin County population has boomed and a good part of the new residents are from the East Bay. But looking at the statistics, these are not mainly liberal/Democratic votes.

Unfortunately, Filson's contention that Bay Area migrants will boost his election chances runs exactly opposite to what the voter registration and election results show.


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