A precinct level look at Douglas County, part 3: Ralston

Ralston

There is a town in Douglas County that is surrounded on most sides by Omaha located around 72nd and Harrison St.  This town is Ralston.  The median household income in 2015 was $57,453.  The median gross rent was $772 and the mean price of housing units was $171,015.  From the census bureau, 85% of the town is white.  10% of the population is Hispanic and 2% of the Ralston population is black.  For the population of Ralston that is 25 or older, 29% of the population has a Bachelor’s Degree or higher and nearly 88% of the population has high school education or higher.  The unemployment rate in the town is 2.5%.

There are six precincts in the town.  Donald Trump won all six of the precincts.  Gary Johnson got considerable support in the town.  In three of the precincts, we have a very close election between Trump and Clinton. Here are the totals for the town for the four Presidential candidates.

  Trump Clinton Johnson Green
# of votes cast 1484 1233 158 24
% of votes 51.2 42.5 5.5 0.8

 

Like most of the precincts that we’ve looked at, there are more people voting for the three Congressional candidates over the Presidential candidates.  This seems odd, since in general, there are more votes for President than there are for Congress.  This is typically true, even if we exclude write-in votes, like we are doing here.

There were 2937 votes cast for one of the three candidates running for Congress compared to 2899 votes cast for the four presidential candidates.  Here is how they voted with the net votes for the Congressional candidates compared to their Presidential candidate.

  Bacon Ashford Laird
Net votes -55 +172 -55

 

Ashford lost the town of Ralston by 24 votes overall.

So why did Ashford do so much better in Ralston than Clinton?  I think there’s something to the explanation that Trump was able to do well with the white working class voters or middle class voters.  For some reason, Trump was able to connect with these voters in a way that Clinton was not able to.  This is another time that I wish I had more data to compare this to.  I would love to see how they voted in a previous election.

There are quite a bit of Trump/Ashford voters in the town.  I would love to talk to them to see why they voted the way they did.  Perhaps, they believe that Ashford will help get things done in Washington in a way that they don’t think Bacon could.  Or if they simply believe that we should have a split government.  This is a belief that is fairly pervasive in Nebraska, in my experience.  But certainly not the best explanation.

Ashford was able to win three of the precincts.  He received over 50% of the vote in two of them.  He ran ahead of Clinton in all of the precincts.  His worst precinct there was him only running by 1.8 points ahead of Clinton.

The Democratic Party of Douglas County and of Nebraska should probably set a goal of winning Ralston in the next Congressional election.  There seems to be distrust of Bacon in this area, so it should be a way to communicate to them, compared to areas where they have to link Bacon to the unpopularity of Trump.

It’s possible that in this area what will sell is the fact that Bacon is not a resident of Omaha and is more of a carpetbagger.  At the end of the day, what is going to convince people to vote against a President and his or her party if they like him will be if their lives are not improved in 20 months.

I can tell you an issue that will not move the needle in Ralston – the death penalty.  There were 2,862 votes on Referendum 426.  They voted to reinstate the death penalty by a wide margin.  For the next table, retain is keeping the repeal of the death penalty.  Repeal is reinstating the death penalty.

  Retain Repeal
# of votes cast 1217 1645
% of votes 42.5 57.5

 

What issues will reach out to Trump/Ashford voters?  Which way are they headed?  Are they headed TOWARD the Republican Party by breaking party lines by voting for a Republican for President?  Or are they headed TOWARD the Democratic Party by breaking party lines by voting for a Democrat for Congress?

That is what we need to find out to net more votes.

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