Sunday, May 26, 2024

Voting in Inman Square in 2008. (Photo: Spanaut)

Of course Cambridge is more liberal than the state as a whole, but it’s interesting to see just how much and in what ways. A bit of number crunching provides the following glimpses into the soul of our city’s electorate:

There are far more people that can vote that do, and Cambridge actually has a slightly lower percentage than the state as a whole. The largest number of people voting Tuesday was in the governor’s race, and Cambridge offered 33,655 ballots in that race, or 53 percent of the 62,957 city voters; statewide, 2.3 million voted in that race  (the actual figure was 2,287,407), or 55 percent of the 4.2 million who could.

In the governor’s race, Cambridge backed incumbent Democrats Gov. Deval Patrick and Lt. Gov. Tim Murray in a big way — with 27,668 votes (82.2 percent), versus only 4,330 votes (12.9 percent) for Republican challenger Charlie Baker. Statewide, Patrick got 48.4 percent of the vote and Baker got a respectable 42.1 percent. (Independent Tim Cahill got 987 votes in Cambridge, or 2.9 percent of the total, versus 8 percent statewide, and Green-Rainbow candidate Jill Stein got 670 votes in Cambridge, or 2 percent of the total, versus 1.4 percent statewide. Given the stereotype of the city, it’s little surprise Stein would get almost as much traction here as Cahill and a higher percentage of votes than the state as a whole.)

In the race for attorney general, Martha Coakley won with 62.8 percent of the vote statewide, soundly beating Republican James McKenna’s 37.2 percent. Again Cambridge proved its Democratic bent, awarding her 87.5 percent of the votes (28,596 ballots cast) versus the 12.5 percent (4,091) given McKenna. About a thousand fewer people voted for either candidate, meaning 3 percent of the electorate tuned out in Cambridge, while statewide only 2 percent opted out of the Coakley-McKenna race.

Things get a bit less predictable on the ballot questions.

On the first, whether to exempt alcohol sales from the state sales tax, the state said yes with 52 percent of the vote, while Cambridge said no. In fact, only 23 percent of voters here wanted Question 1 to pass. And the number of people weighing on the question in Cambridge dropped by 1,177, although that still works out to 97 percent of the city electorate. Statewide, only 96 percent of the voters participated, compared with those energized enough to vote for governor.

The second question, repealing a law affecting the development of affordable housing, was defeated in Cambridge as well as statewide. But liberal Cambridge voted 73.5 percent in opposition; statewide it was a tighter 58.2 percent that opposed it. Almost 2,600 voters dropped out on this question, leaving 92 percent of voters to take it on, while statewide voters were a bit more engaged, with 94 percent still voting.

On the final question, whether to halve the state’s sales tax to 3 percent, Cambridge and the state again agreed, with 81.1 percent of Cambridge voters against the move, versus 56.8 percent statewide. About 1,000 city voters dropped out, for another 97 percent voter participation rate, just below the statewide rate of 98 percent.