Bobby Jindal Wins in Louisiana

Republican's historic victory may have little to do with post-Katrina change in electorate.

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Bobby Jindal has been elected governor of Louisiana in the first round of voting with 54 percent of the vote. Here are the statewide election results, and here are the results by parish. This is the first major statewide election in Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina; neither of the state’s U.S. Senate seats was up in 2006. I’ve aggregated the results by metro New Orleans (as defined by the Census Bureau) and the rest of state, and compared them with the results of the 2003 runoff, which Jindal lost to Democrat Kathleen Blanco 52 to 48 percent.

2003 Jindal Blanco Total % of Total  
STATE 676,484 (48%) 731,358 (52%) 1,407,842    
New Orleans 219,327 (53%) 195,044 (47%) 414,371 29%  
Rest of state 457,157 (46%) 536,314 (54%) 993,471 71%  

2007 Jindal Others Total % of Total Change from 2003
STATE 699,672 (54%) 598,271 (46%) 1,297,943 -8%  
New Orleans 181,518 (58%) 131,686  (42%) 313,204 24% -24%
Rest of state 518,154 (53%) 466,585 (47%) 984,739 76% -1%

By the way, turnout was down generally in the southern part of the state and up in central and northern Louisiana—the parts of the state where Jindal ran way behind usual Republican percentages in 2003. Turnout was down 6 percent in East Baton Rouge Parish (Baton Rouge) and up just 6 percent in exurban Livingston Parish just to the east. It was down 15 percent in Lafayette Parish (Lafayette) and down 11 percent in Calcasieu Parish (Lake Charles).

There’s been a lot of speculation that outmigration by New Orleans blacks has changed the political balance in Louisiana, to the benefit of Republicans. This seems to be true, but the effect does not seem to have been as great as some have supposed. Here are differences in 2003 and 2007 turnout for each of the seven parishes in metro New Orleans, and in the Jindal and anti-Jindal vote:

2003-07 Jindal Anti-Jindal Turnout % Difference from 2003
Metro NO -37,809 -63,358 -101,167 -24%
Jefferson -11,121 -12,756 -23,877 -17%
Orleans -16,727 -43,144 -59,871 -44%
Plaquemines -814 -1,929 -2,743 -26%
St. Bernard -9,886 -3,527 -13,486 -54%
St. Charles +417 -838 -421 -2%
St. John t.B. -1,003 -1,628 -2,631 -15%
St. Tammany +1,325 +464 +1,789 +3%

Conclusion: Outmigration was a wash in partisan terms, with the conspicuous and important exception of Orleans Parish (coterminous with the city of New Orleans), where a net Democratic margin of about 25,000 disappeared. This is significant, but not hugely so. Jindal’s loss in St. Bernard Parish was unusually large because one of the other candidates, John Boasso, is from there and carried the greatly reduced number of votes in the parish, which was hit by floodwaters from the ill-advised Mississippi River Gulf Outlet. In St. Tammany Parish, north of Lake Pontchartrain, the total vote was actually up. Jindal got more votes in St. Tammany than in any other parish except Jefferson and East Baton Rouge.

Jindal’s victory is heartening on many counts. He is the first American governor of Indian descent (his parents were immigrants from India), and he is terrifyingly talented. His election is a stinging rebuke to the political order in Louisiana, and he has the potential to turn this fascinating but afflicted state around.

A Couple of Great Clips

Listen to this wonderfully brave and eloquent statement by Benazir Bhutto last week. And don’t miss this great John McCain moment in Sunday night’s Fox News debate.

Massachusetts 5

I’ve already blogged on the special election in the Fifth District of Massachusetts. Here are some additional thoughts from E-mail correspondent Ironman:

I've taken the position that in some circles in the well educated and well compensated, George W. Bush's personal attributes have made the entire party seem unacceptable, notwithstanding attractive individual issues and candidates.

Here are the totals for the five affluent (median family incomes all $100k plus) MetroWest towns in MA 5 closest to 128 (Acton, Concord, Maynard, Sudbury and Wayland):

Tsongas 10681
Ogoronski 5389

Lowell and Lawrence yielded a 11305-7048 edge for Tsongas, so her plurality was most heavily gained not in the blue collar center cities, but in the yuppie towns.

The rest of the district yielded a 35333-32377 Ogoronski advantage.

Obviously "owning" Boston paid media helped Tsongas in MetroWest, but I think as long as George W. Bush is the "face" of the GOP, the more highly educated and affluent are going to hold it against his co-partisans.

I also note that Tsongas won about as many votes in the special (54,363) as were cast in her party's primary (55,803).

She lost ground in Lowell (9383 primary voters, only 7,305 Tsongas votes) so evidently Ogo peeled off some supporters of Eileen Donoghue, a defeated Lowell candidate. She also lost votes in Andover where a local candidates lost the D primary . But a local candidate from Acton lost the D primary, and Tsongas suffered no loss of voters there (2733 primary voters, 2786 Tsongas voters). She ran well ahead of the Democrat primary vote in Sudbury and Wayland.

We’re Not in 2006 Anymore

That’s the theme of My Creators Syndicate column for this week.