Total number of votes cast in the Democratic primary for mayor: 456,263. Pretty pathetic. For Manhattan borough president: 147,650, or 32 percent of the total for mayor. By comparison, the mayoral Democratic primary in 2001, two weeks after September 11, had a turnout of 785,365, and the 2001 runoff, four weeks later, had a turnout of 790,089. The 2005 Democratic turnout was down about 42 percent. Wow! This is out of 2,639,845 registered Democrats. In other words, about 30 percent of registered Democrats voted for mayor in the 2001 primary and runoff, while only 17 percent of registered Democrats voted for mayor this time.
The incomparable Fred Siegel, author of the terrific The Prince of the City: Giuliani, New York and the Genius of American Life, has been blogging the election for The New Republic. Here is his comment on Anthony Weiner's concession. Weiner could have forced a runoff, since primary leader Fernando Ferrer narrowly failed to get the 40 percent required for the nomination. But, as Siegel points out, everyone expects Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg to be easily re-elected in November. Some polls have shown him leading all the Democratic candidates among Democratic primary voters. Affluent Manhattan liberals are not going to turn over city government to a left-wing grievance crier like Ferrer. They may have been willing to vote for John Kerry, but they're not crazy.
Is there any national significance to these numbers? Not much but maybe this. The kind of angry left-wing politics promoted by the Daily Kos and Howard Dean seems to dominate the Democrats' political dialogue. But when real things are at stakelike the value of your Manhattan co-opa lot of Democratic voters know better. In Iowa and New Hampshire, they hurriedly dumped Dean for Kerry in 2004, and this year they simply have no interest at all in ousting Bloomberg for a left-wing Democrat.