by David Ramsey
North Little Rock school board member Scott Miller, a supporter of Tracy Steele, has an interesting breakdown on the runoff for mayor on his Facebook page.
Looking at the vote counts for Steele and Joe Smith by precinct reveals that different areas in the city were starkly divided over the two candidates, with Smith dominating north of I-40 and Steele racking up big margins south of I-40. Here are the numbers from Miller:
North of I-40...Smith 70.0%...Steele 30.0%
South of I-40...Smith 22.3%...Steele 77.7%
The Levy/Amboy area generally broke about even between the two so let’s look at North of I-40 less Levy/Amboy....Smith 78.5%...Steele 21.5%
Baring Cross, Argenta, Sherman Park, Dixie, Rose City...Smith 18.3%...Steele 81.7%
Indian Hills, Overbrook, McCain Mall North of McCain Smith 80.3%...Steele 19.7%
Did race play a factor in the election? Miller thinks not, noting that some of the areas that Steele dominated are majority white.
You can see the very deep divisions that underlie the total vote percentage of about 55-45 for Smith. But don't let anyone tell you these numbers reflect a race issue. For the large part they don't. Much of the area south of I-40 & East of 440 went heavily Steele despite being majority white. In my opinion these numbers reflect a story of areas that perceive everything is OK in the City and other areas that feel left out with fire stations, safety or development, or just feel disenfranchised. Mayor-elect Smith has some heavy lifting to do to heal this City and I don't envy him.
At the very least, looks like Miller is right that where voters live was the best predictor of how they voted in the runoff. Of course, wherever they called home, a good chunk of them stayed there on election day. Turnout, as expected, was significantly down from the general election earlier this month.