Thursday, September 10, 2015

Did Vicki Slater have a Republican problem or a race problem?

There is nothing like the New York Times telling us about Mississippi.  The newspaper pondered how Robert Gray became the Mississippi Democratic Party Gubernatorial nominee after trouncing the heavily favored Jackson attorney, Vicki Slater, in the August 4 primary:

Mr. Gray beat two other candidates, who unlike him spent money and campaigned. Democratic Party officials were stunned. The news media was stunned. Mr. Gray, now Mississippi’s Democratic nominee for governor, gave some interviews and then set off with a truck full of sweet potatoes for a potato chip factory in Pennsylvania.....
The Democratic primary was once the de facto general election in Mississippi. Even now, after decades of extensive partisan realignment, the majority of candidates running for coroner, tax assessor and other local offices in many rural counties are likely to be running as Democrats, out of tradition if nothing else. But people do not register by party in Mississippi, so while the Democratic primary may still draw the most activity in those counties, a large number of those primary voters are reliable Republicans in statewide and national elections.

“So much of the Democratic primary is composed of people who are not Democrats,” Mr. McGraw said.

And that is how you end up with Mr. Gray, a genuine unknown even in the tiny town of Terry, where he lives. Rest of article.
 Oh really? Mr. McGraw expounded on this point on the Rethink Mississippi website:

The relative turnout figures suggest that most of the elasticity in the Democratic primary comes from loosely-attached Republicans and independents who cross over to vote in local races. While the effect of crossover voting is declining on a statewide level, it is still prevalent in many counties: the Democratic primary received at least 75 percent of the voters in 47 of Mississippi’s 82 counties. Of those 47 counties, only 20 voted for the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in 2011.

Three-fifths of counties had more than a 25 percentage point gap between the Democratic share of the primary and general election vote. Those counties accounted for 68 percent of the total Democratic primary turnout in 2015 — but only 39 percent of the Democratic nominee’s votes in 2011.

 The size of the dropoff between August and November can be staggering. Nearly 90 percent of Tippah County voters participated in the Democratic primary, but only 25 percent cast their ballot for the Democratic nominee in 2011. Ninety-two percent voted in Carroll County’s Democratic primary, but only 29 percent went blue in 2011. In total, 17 counties (21 percent) have at least a 50-point gap between Democratic share of the primary and general election vote.
Gray won an outright majority in 44 of the 50 counties (88 percent) in which the Democratic share of the primary vote was at least 25 percentage points greater than the 2011 general election vote share. He received 55 percent of the total vote in these high-crossover counties. They accounted for 71 percent of his primary votes, but — as I mentioned in the previous section — only 39 percent of the Democratic general election votes.

Gray only carried a majority in 10 of the 32 counties (30 percent) where turnout was more proportional. He won 39 percent of the total vote in these low-crossover counties, which produced the remaining 61 percent of the Democrats’ 2011 general election votes.. Rest of article.

It;s a niice little opinion piece filled with some facts.  JJ took a look at some actual numbers (long-time readers know what is coming) at the precinct level in Hinds County.  Over 31,000 votes were cast in the Democratic primary for governor.  Republican votes decreased approximately 5,000 votes from the 2011 primary as the elephants crossed over to vote for the donkeys.   The results were:

Robert Gray.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .    10,067   31.63
Valerie Adream Smartt Short  .  .  .  .     7,629   23.97
Vicki Slater  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .    13,996   43.97

JJ reviewed the precinct results.  The Hinds County precinct results are the opposite of the thesis posited by Rethink Mississippi and the New York Times.   It is quite clear that the vast majority of Republicans who voted in the Democratic primary case their ballots for Vicki Slater.  The results by precinct are posted below.

All Democratic precincts that are in Republican areas of Hinds County went for Vicki Slater.  They are the only areas. The whiter and more Republican the area, the higher the percentage of votes received by Ms. Slater.  Mr. Gray did not win any boxes in GOP areas.    Here are the results for all of the boxes in Republican areas in Jackson:

Precinct                                   Slater               Gray                Short                Winning %

8 (Belhaven)                           129                  9                      19                    82%
9 (Belhaven)                           235                  27                    32                    79%
14 (Fondren)                           90                    16                    18                    72%
16 (Fondren)                           250                  67                    50                    68%
32 (Lakeland)                          86                    16                    13                    73%
33 (Casey)                               80                    25                    21                    62%
34 (Willie Morris)                   144                  31                    25                    71%
35 (Spann)                               94                    32                    20                    64%
45 (St. Phillips)                       112                  48                    31                    57%
46 (Christ United)                   280                  131                  125                  52%
78 (Asc. Lutheran)                  110                  60                    52                    49%

Christ United Methodist  is probably 40% black.   All precinct results are posted below for your review.  Here are some additional observations:

*No other Hinds County precincts showed such overwhelming majority votes for one candidate. The highest was 53% and the lowest was 38% for the winner.

*Slater won over 50% of the vote in four more areas, Clinton and Tinnin, that are Republican areas.

*Only 6 precincts in areas that are considered to be Democratic gave over 50% of their votes to the winner.  Vicki Slater won every one of those boxes. Three of those boxes still have a substantial number of white or Republican votes.

*Short hurt Slater more than Gray.  Slater won the vast majority of precincts.  However, Slater's margin of victory in traditional Democratic areas was usually very small and almost always under 50% and sometimes  even below 40%.  

*The truth is that Vicki Slater performed poorly in the black precincts of Hinds County.  The whiter the precinct, the better she did; the blacker the precinct, the worse she did.  Somehow, this bit of info does not appear on Rethink Mississippi's website.

 *Mr. Gray probably wins Hinds County if Republicans don't vote in the Democratic primary.

Hinds County's results are at odds with the claims made by Mr. McGraw and the New York Times.  However, this is just one county and Mr. McGraw's argument probably holds water when one looks at all 82 counties. However, a more in-depth analysis is needed and that means looking at precincts themselves.  Vicki Slater may have had a Republican problem but it is clear in Hinds County that she had a race problem.

Notes about table below: winning number of votes is posted in red.  Majority % over 50% is posted in blue.  Democratic boxes in GOP areas are posted first.

Scribd is not cooperating with the Word document that was uploaded. Use this link to read the document below if you want to read something that is neater.


Anonymous said...

This is indeed a mystery. Did the Democrat primary ballots involve hanging chads, per chance? I understand they have trouble understanding that type of ballot.

Anonymous said...

Precinct level analysis. Yup, that is where you find the turths about an election. And if you follow the bouncing ball by looking closely at the precincts you'll see that Thad Cochran only won versus McDaniel due to a massive turnout of black Democrats who only showed up on his behalf for the runoff. There is no denying what happened when you review the results at the precinct level. We all know what the GOP establishment did to get voters out for the white candidate Thad Cochran that white candidate Vicki Slater did not.

Kingfish said...

Nice point. Now I'm not approving any more Senate race comments on this thread. By the way, you might want to check the precincts for Hinds County last year. Might surprise you.

Anonymous said...

And then there's the fact that she's just mean.

Anonymous said...

Though both groups live in a state of denial about the actual electorate, the one occupied by McGraw and other white Democrats is somewhat different than the one in which Haley, Nosef and the MSGOPe et al reside.

Both white groups don't want closed primaries and both white groups don't want a Louisiana-style nonpartisan primary system because a great deal of their power to manipulate voting groups in primaries derives from Mississippi's ambiguous and legally porous approach.

The Southern Democrats of what we thought were Mississippi's old days are still in the driver's seat. The only difference being that today their ranks are split between two political parties huffing and puffing the same spew that is only dressed up to look differently to the target voters in one party versus those of the other.

Mississippi election reform starts with primary election reform. Little changes without that first step.

Anonymous said...

I honestly believe that Gray benefited from being first on the ballot, despite McGraw's protestations (Tim Johnson has far better name recognition than Slater or Short). Also, it could be argued that he benefited from being male. Democrat voters, many of whom who were far more interested in the lower races, likely picked the first name on the screen or the candidate with the most gubernatorial sounding name (Robert Gray sounds like a 65-year-old senior partner in a prestigious law firm to me). I realize that a "linear regression analysis confirms a statistically significant correlation", but politics is less slide rule and more human nature, Jake.

No matter, because the chatter about the Democrat candidate for Governor is mere background noise, since none of the three would mount a serious challenge to Bryant this go round.

The sinister underlying message from the Grey Lady is that Republicans (NYT code for white people) are disenfranchising Democrats (NYT code for blacks and righteous white liberals) through a process that is legal but shady. The Times and other east coast ivory tower media are notorious for treating Mississippi as an intractable backwater that is stuck in the 1950s with hooded klansmen walking the streets. Their bigoted view of a state that almost none of their staff has visited for more than 48 hours is execrable.

And, as mentioned above, a similar tactic was employed by establishment Republicans last year. However, since that campaign ousted an "undesirable" candidate, there was nary a peep from the Times and her ivory tower neighbors, save an implied exhortation for those who were unhappy with the Cochran campaign's tactics to eat cake.

Anonymous said...

Let's get real. She had a 0.0% chance of beating Phil Bryant. Gray's name was first on the ballot, and Democrats just didn't care.

I'm from Clinton--voted in the Democratic primary (Darrel McQuirter--thank me for that one!) I almost voted for Gray

golferinmississippi said...

From my Democratic Friends, I had SEVERAL say they just voted for the 1st name on the ballot. They basically said what 11:37 said, the name "...sounds like a 65-year-old senior partner in a prestigious law firm..."

I don't think that's a problem that is only with the Democrats. I think that there is only around 25% of voting voters that know the issues/candidates. The other 75% are doing their "civic duty" and don't have a clue. I don't mean 25%/75% of those eligible to vote but those that ACTUALLY vote.

You can look to the presidential elections the past, people were a electing or not electing a PERSON. It wasn't about issues or policies, but a name. There were some late night talk shows that interviewed people on the street and swapped candidate's names and planks in the candidate's platform and the people were oblivious. Just blindly following a name.

Sadly, that's why we are where we are. Elections are decided nationally, on a handful of States, low informational voters. On a State and County level it's the same thing, just on a smaller scale.

Anonymous said...

Not buying the first name on ballot meme.

Notion isn't supported by the data Kingfish posts above.

More often than not in MS the slant gets trotted out by clueless white Donkeycrats who can't figure out why the conventional wisdom favorite candidate didn't win. Slater's showing in 32, 33, 34 and 35 undermines the argument completely.

Then, you have it used as an explanation like when Tom Head reflexively parroted the "first name" hogwash in 2004 to explain away Jimmy Giles' substantial showing in Belhaven vs Chipper. Tom was sure the problem was uninformed first-name voters until it was pointed out that Giles' name was second on the ballot that election.

No getting around it. Black Donkeycrats voted against Slater and more likely than not because they knew she was white.

Anonymous said...

I do believe that the majority of voters do "pay attention" to elections. Almost all know who is black and who is white. Witness the District 70 House votes. Maybe the African American voters didn't like the woman running?

Still believe its time for Open Primaries! We are denying people the right to choose their elected officials by making the Primary and run-off actually the election. In most cases it is.

Anonymous said...

Interesting research KF....This is just another example of how Bobby Moak and his team is failing the Democratic Party. They have dreams of taking the House back but we all know that Moak's days of glory are over.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Kingfish for speaking the truth about last year's Senate race. I get tired of the same old trope by McDaniel supporters that the "Democrats" stole the election from their candidate. If you look at the precinct data there was a large increase from the primary to the runoff of voters in the predominately white Republican precincts of NE Jackson. These people either did not take McDaniel seriously in the primary or they did not get back from their Destin condo in time to vote.

What happened is that Chrissy was taking a victory lap after his 1,300 vote "mandate" in the primary and his campaign manager was asking Cochran to withdraw after this humiliating defeat. The Cochran people rolled up their sleeves and figured out a way to get out the vote enough to wipe out a very small deficit.

Anonymous said...

Who really gives a damn?

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, Ms. Slater was pooling all of her resources to try to defeat Phil Bryant. She overlooked one small detail, she needed to win the Democratic primary in order to get a shot at Bryant. Her name recognition was not much better than Mr. Gray's outside of Jackson. People picked the first name on the ballot quickly in order to get down the list to the local Justice of the Peace race that they really cared about.

This election speaks volumes about the sorry state of the Democratic party in Mississippi. I guess Ricky Cole will have to wait another 4 years to fry Haley Barbour and the rest of the state GOP.

Wife of G.O.S. said...

I thought this wasn't going to turn into a McDaniel/Cochran thread. Did 1:56 just slip through?

1:17 says what no one on the left, including McGraw and the NYT, wants to face - that Black Democrats voted for a black man over a white woman. Sure, there were some Rs and Is that raided the Democrats primary, but everyone knows that 95+% of the Black voters in the state voted Democrat, Mr. Statistical Analysis knows that.

The New York Times would never run a story about Black Mississippians (or Black voters anywhere) voting against white people unless it was cast as a blow against historical injustice or some other excuse. However, if they can perpetuate the notion that White Southerners are craven racists who exercise their bigotry in the secrecy of the voting booth, they'll do it, with the Winter staff as their willing accomplices.

Vicki was penalized by Democrat loyalists because of her race. That's a manifestation of Southern racism that the New York Times has neither the desire nor the guts to shed light upon.

Anonymous said...

Slater is not known throughout the state and should have spent enough money and campaign time and effort to solidify her higher name recognition. If people don't know much either candidate, the Robert will beat the Vicki and the Gray will beat the Slater.

Sitting back waiting for the general election is a loser strategy even if she won the primary because no one will contribute to a candidate that isn't doing anything. It is an old story, but candidates always want the money first and then run a real campaign, but potential donors want to see that a candidate has a clue about running a campaign before they will give money.

Anonymous said...

Vicki is fine lawyer....but she is an abject bitch. Her bed side manner is akin to the bubonic plague.

She has not the personality nor the charisma to run a credible campaign....Robert Gray saved her lots of time and money. She should go sleep with him....or not.....whatever he thinks is best.

Anonymous said...

I just don't se how many of the respondents keep saying Black democrats voted against Slater because she is white. Slater won Hinds County , where the majority of the black democrats voted for her. So how is it that what happened was some sort of "reverse racism" on the part of Black Democrats? Nothing that Kingfish's analysis of polling places substantiates that Black Democrats voted against Slater because she is white,. If anything , it shows that Repubs didn't vote for Gray in big numbers in Hinds county.

I think it is more plausible that Slater did not do enough to campaign in the primary and that tactic hurt her. Most democrats around the state probably saw the governor's race as futile. So, to them , it didn't matter who won the primary for the Democrats, they didn't stand a chance in the general. Thus many probably voted down ticket and just filled in the 1st name on the ballot for governor. Combine that with the open primary and crossover votes from Repubs (which the article is focusing on) and you have a truly weird if not sad situation with te democratic candidate.

P80, P81, P82, P83 said...

If you look at the precinct data there was a large increase from the primary to the runoff of voters in the predominately white Republican precincts of NE Jackson.

Your comment betrays your substantial lack of knowledge regarding the specifics of Hinds precincts in that election. I'd ask you to prove it but will not because I already know you can't.

Anonymous said...

This is just another example of how Bobby Moak and his team is failing the Democratic Party.

Fat Bobby gets away with it while Jim Evans didn't. Of course Bogue Chitto is populated by nothing but idiots.

Anonymous said...

Most voters, black and white, Democrat and Republican, in all 82 counties had no clue who Vicki Slater or Valerie Short or Robert Gray even were. There were no ads, no GOTV, no nothing. That is how it ended up as it did.

Kingfish said...

She also blew off advice from her campaign staff. A common mistake among rookie candidates. I watched one judicial candidate last week completely blow off what he or she was told and proceeded to turn the two minute speech into one that was remembered for the wrong reasons. Completely deviated from script.

Anonymous said...

Nobody has filed several lawsuits lately.

Anonymous said...

I honestly thought this whole time (until reading some of the comments above) that Slater was black.

Also a note: Although I consider myself a Democrat, I live in a county that's almost totally Republican, and so I had to vote in the Repub primary if I wanted to have any say in important local races.

Kingfish said...

4:22, I would argue that Ms. Slater did not win the majority of black votes in Hinds County. Read the numbers. She got less than 50% in all but a handful of precincts with high BVAP's. Did great in Edwards for example, but only got 45% of the vote.

Anonymous said...

I voted for Gray bc I typically vote republican but voted democrat this time to support a friend running for clerks office in the local election. Having never heard of any of the candidates, I voted for the only male on the ballot.

Anonymous said...

Slater went in the negative in Neshoba ---and Short, after hearing that story about " the poor mans colonoscopy" - well, she just seemed like she'd seen better days. In my mind I was thinking, "two women: one is livid and one is heart broken."

Intentions are wonderful but that doesn't make a leader and so I also thought, " not these two, not here in this state."

What do ya know? Out of the blue pops up a southern miracle of a black man ( perhaps B.B. Kings spiritual son) that was calm and well reasoned, in which, no one heard about. If he's bitter, then you sure can't tell it. He also knows a thing or two if I do say so myself. Politics aside, it is overwhelmingly refreshing and still is right now- especially since the negative vibes of that senate race and state auditor accusation go round. Anywho, we have a regular person speaking a positive populist message on the democratic ticket and I think that's just great!

Blessing in disguise if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

So Kingfish, Are you saying that a candidate can win Hinds county without winning the black vote? Just because someone didn't get 50% doesn't mean they didn't win the black vote, that just means the black vote was split. The question is, did she get most of te black votes cast or did another candidate get more black votes than she did? If that were the case, then you would have a point. But indeed that wasn't the case. At any point, some respondents and your headline were saying that Slater was a victim of "reverse racism" in that black people just didn't vote for her. None of the numbers point to that. The numbers only show that the repubs. that did cross over voted for her, not that black people didn't.

Kingfish said...

Go look up plurality v. majority.

Ms. Slater won a plurality of the black votes but not a majority. My post is a response to the thesis that Gray won because of Republicans. My hypothesis is that in Hinds County the Republicans backed Ms. Slater.

Anonymous said...

Nobody is saying "black people just didn't vote for her [Slater]". What is being said is that black people didn't fall in line, didn't kowtow, for the candidate that was being presented to them as the eventual Democrat Party standard bearer to face Bryant. And yes, many black voters didn't vote for Slater because she is white.

Anonymous said...

So, KF, where is Slater's "Race Problem" as your headline suggests? It seems to me that what she faced was a problem of general voter apathy and ignorance, and perhaps even more so, a bleak reality that her challenge of Phil Bryant was futile, at least in the eyes of Democratic voters. Have you and some other respondents tell it, Slater lost because black folks around the state didn't vote for her because she was white. Yet, She won Hinds County with black folks voting for her in larger numbers than they did for Gray or Short. So Again, where is the race problem for Slater?

Kingfish said...

I didn't say she lost because she was white. All I have pointed out is that she won big in white areas when the experts and media are saying Republicans voted for Gray. Guess you didn't read the whole post.

Anonymous said...

So, KF,
How do you define Slater's "Race problem"? If your point is that Slater had repub crossover support in Hinds County and therefore Gray didn't win because of repub crossover, then what is Slater's "race problem", as your headline suggests?

Anonymous said...

She won Hinds County with black folks voting for her in larger numbers than they did for Gray or Short.

Blacks voted in larger numbers for Gray+Short than they did for Slater. Upwards of 60% of black voters voted for someone other than Slater.

Halldorson said...

Never heard of Vicki Slater so I voted for the first name on the ballot.

Anonymous said...

Slater may have won the white precincts in Hinds but Gray still dominated white precincts elsewhere. He won 60%+ in the most white counties in the state (Itawamba, Alcorn, Pontotoc, etc).

Anonymous said...

Personally, I don't think Slater had a race problem so much as she had a gender problem. Considering how little effort Gray put into campaigning, I doubt most Dummycrats even knew what race he was. But more importantly I don't think this state is generally prepared to see a woman governor. Going up against a good ol' boy like our current governor, I'm guessing most of his supporters blindly voted for the man, figuring he would stand a better chance of pulling off an upset.

Michael said...


Slater just lost period. When you lose like this it is 1 of 2 things, either the candidate was bad or she ran a bad campaign. There is NO WAY, the Republicans could have pulled off getting Robert Gray elected. Thing is, Slater can come back for another day if she wants, where Gray won't be given a second look. But as for any illegalities or anything done wrong by the REpublicans, I doubt very seriously that happened. IF anyone thinks that, you don't need to be working on a political campaign. You are going to have losses and Ms. Slater LOST but that doesn't mean she can't come back.

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