Romney Got No Votes In 59 Philadelphia Precincts?
According to preliminary results, Mitt Romney got absolutely no votes in 59 of Philadelphia’s most heavily African-American precincts:
It’s one thing for a Democratic presidential candidate to dominate a Democratic city like Philadelphia, but check out this head-spinning figure: In 59 voting divisions in the city, Mitt Romney received not one vote. Zero. Zilch.
These are the kind of numbers that send Republicans into paroxysms of voter-fraud angst, but such results may not be so startling after all.
“We have always had these dense urban corridors that are extremely Democratic,” said Jonathan Rodden, a political science professor at Stanford University. “It’s kind of an urban fact, and you are looking at the extreme end of it in Philadelphia.”
Most big cities are politically homogeneous, with 75 percent to 80 percent of voters identifying as Democrats.
Cities are not only bursting with Democrats: They are easier to organize than rural areas where people live far apart from one another, said Sasha Issenberg, author of The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns.
“One reason Democrats can maximize votes in Philadelphia is that it’s very easy to knock on every door,” Issenberg said.
Still, was there not one contrarian voter in those 59 divisions, where unofficial vote tallies have President Obama outscoring Romney by a combined 19,605 to 0?
The unanimous support for Obama in these Philadelphia neighborhoods – clustered in almost exclusively black sections of West and North Philadelphia – fertilizes fears of fraud, despite little hard evidence.
On one level, it’s not at all surprising that there was an overwhelming vote for Obama in these precincts. In 2008, Obama won all Philadelphia with 83% of the vote to John McCain’s 16.3% and it’s quite probably that he racked up 90% of the vote or more in many of the predominantly African-American areas of the city. But no votes at all? In 59 precincts? At the same time, though it’s worth noting that there are likely very few Republicans in most of these precincts to begin with:
In some of those divisions, it’s not only Romney supporters who are missing. Republicans in general are nearly extinct.
Take North Philadelphia’s 28th Ward, third division, bounded by York, 24th, and 28th Streets and Susquehanna Avenue.
About 94 percent of the 633 people who live in that division are black. Seven white residents were counted in the 2010 census.
In the entire 28th Ward, Romney received only 34 votes to Obama’s 5,920.
Although voter registration lists, which often contain outdated information, show 12 Republicans live in the ward’s third division, The Inquirer was unable to find any of them by calling or visiting their homes.
Four of the registered Republicans no longer lived there; four others didn’t answer their doors. City Board of Elections registration data say a registered Republican used to live at 25th and York Streets, but none of the neighbors across the street Friday knew him. Cathy Santos, 56, founder of the National Alliance of Women Veterans, had one theory: “We ran him out of town!” she said and laughed.
James Norris, 19, who lives down the street, is listed as a Republican in city data. But he said he’s a Democrat and voted for Obama because he thinks the president will help the middle class.
A few blocks away, Eric Sapp, a 42-year-old chef, looked skeptical when told that city data had him listed as a registered Republican. “I got to check on that,” said Sapp, who voted for Obama.
Eighteen Republicans reportedly live in the nearby 15th Division, according to city registration records. The 15th has the distinction of pitching two straight Republican shutouts – zero votes for McCain in 2008, zero for Romney on Tuesday. Oh, and 13 other city divisions did the same thing in 2008 and 2012.
In that kind of environment, is it really all that surprising that Romney got no votes in these districts? I would suggest not.