The Geography Of Sheila Dixon’s 2007 Victory

Yesterday, we published an article entitled, “Beating Sheila Dixon,” in which we talked about her win in the 2007 Democratic primary for Mayor. Ms. Dixon won that race with 63% of the vote against 7 opponents. That’s impressive by any standard.

Sheila Dixon may not be the person Baltimore needs to lead the economic recovery and all-inclusive growth that saves this city but, if nothing else, she’s a very capable politician.  The 2007 primary was before her conviction of course, before she was forced to leave office in 2010, but her leading in early polls for this year’s primary is still no surprise.

Going back to 2007, what’s impressive is the geography of her victory as illustrated in the three maps at the bottom of this post. The first (red dots) shows the number of votes she received in each precinct. The second (blue dots) shows the extent of her victory in these precincts as a percent of the total votes cast on election day.  The third (green dots) shows the percent turnout by precinct.

These are live, interactive maps. Zooming in will enable you to see specific street names and identify the neighborhoods where precincts are located.  And you can click on or mouse-over any off the dots to see the precinct name, address and data for that voting location.

What does it all mean? Well, we’ll leave it up to you to do your own analysis.  Email us if you want the Excel spreadsheet that contains the data on which the maps are based.  Cursory examination of the data indicates no correlation between any two of the three data elements.  The percentage of votes she received, for example, appears unrelated to the percent turnout.  Income, age, gender, education and racial mix of the voters relative to a given precinct may be factors, but our data and maps don’t take these attributes into account.

If you are a candidate or campaign manager, you should be thinking about the implications of these maps for how you canvass. This is Baltimore. If you don’t canvass and do so extensively and effectively, you won’t win. Suffice it to say that support for Ms. Dixon’s candidacy was widespread and significant in neighborhoods of various attributes throughout the city.  Judging from the early polls, support for her candidacy is still substantial, but not nearly as extensive as it was 9 years ago.  The money question is whether it’s enough tor her to win.

The question now is which of these precinct neighborhoods feel differently about a former Mayor who did nothing to make their situation better while betraying their confidence and faith. We can’t help wonder how many of our city’s struggling families feel about her having been convicted of embezzling funds, but then negotiating a deal that kept her out of prison and with an $83,000/year retirement benefit for the rest of her life. Are they okay with that? And, either way, will they be voting in April?

Here now are the 2007 primary election maps that we promised…

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