By Peter Ciurczak and Luc Schuster
October 27. 2017
Only 1 in 7 registered voters (14 percent) cast a vote in the 2015 off-year city council elections. That’s less than half of voter turnout in the 2013 mayor’s race.
Roughly two-thirds of voters cast ballots in the two most recent presidential elections.
Turnout for the last two mid-terms was in the low-40 percents, whereas turnout in the last mayoral election was 38 percent (and that was with no incumbent running). Additionally, mid-term turnout has fallen since 2006, the last time a Republican held the White House. Research has shown that voter turnout in mid-term elections is higher amongst partisans of the opposite party to the sitting President; in 2017, 52 percent of registered Boston voters are Democrats, whereas only 6 percent are Republicans.
After the 2005 and 2007 elections, men held all four at-large seats. After the 2013 election, the at-large seats were evenly split male/female. And since the 2015 election, women have held three of the four seats, a gender distribution carried through the 2017 elections.
Tito Jackson and Andrea Campbell were two district candidate outliers, spending amounts more typical of at-large campaigns.
Also, while higher-spending candidates tend to do better, higher spending didn’t guarantee victory for at-large seats in 2015.
The 2013 mayoral race was the most expensive race in the last decade, with both candidates combined spending upwards of $5.5 million. The second most expensive race – 2009’s mayoral race – saw Mayor Menino and Michael Flaherty spend a combined $4.4 million (in 2013 dollars).
And 3 out of 9 seats have been contested less than half of the time (Districts 5, 6 and 8).
And for the four at-large seats in 2017, all four incumbents are running along with four challengers.