Thursday, March 15, 2007

Back to Philly---'76 and '80

As we continue our look at Philadelphia, we focus now on the 1976 and 1980 races. Again, we're interested in what happened to those voters that gave the highest support to Wallace in '68. Our running hypothesis is that the Wallace vote was a step on the way to becoming more Republican in orientation. Our look at 1972 saw evidence to that effect. How lasting was it?

A few things first. In '76, Carter carried the city of Philadelphia easily, winning 66% of the vote and carrying 63 of 66 wards. Therefore, we're not so much interested in whether Ford won "Wallace Wards," but how Republican they were, relatively speaking. In 1980, Carter also won Philly garnering 59% to Reagan's 34% and John Anderson's 7%. Ward by ward, Reagan fared better than Ford, winning 24 of the 66 wards.

Finally, we should note that over the time period we've been looking at, the African-American population of the city has been growing, both in raw number and percentage of the city population. The African-American population grew 24% between 1960 and 1970 and then lost 2% from 1970 to 1980. As a percentage of the overall population, African-Americans were 26% of the city population in 1960, 34% in 1970, and 38% in 1980.

Looking back at our "Wallace Wards," remember that the 10 wards that Wallace did best in were: 40, 7, 45, 31, 33, 25, 41, 66, 65, and 39. Below, I've listed how Republican each of these wards were in '72, '76, and '80 (1 being most Republican, 66 being least Republican).

Ward 40: 25, 28, 26

Ward 7: 18, 31, 25

Ward 45: 22, 23, 19

Ward 31: 13, 17, 24

Ward 33: 17, 20, 18

Ward 25: 15, 24, 21

Ward 41: 11, 11, 11

Ward 66: 2, 4, 1

Ward 65: 12, 18, 13

Ward 39: 5, 15, 5

What we see is that the gains that Republicans made under Nixon in 1972 seem to have held by the time we get to 1980. While these wards are not the most Republican in the city, they have nonetheless given considerable support to Ford and especially Reagan. Any gains that Carter made disappeared four years later.

An obvious point to remember, of course, is that population shifts would have certainly caused the demographic portraits of each of these wards to change. Many of the white ethnic voters that we're interested in probably left the city for the suburbs between '68 and '80. However, it doesn't seem as if these voters were replaced by African-American voters. Otherwise we would have expected these wards to become considerably more Democratic. Thus, absent more sophisticated data, it seems reasonable to conclude that our running hypothesis has some validity to it.

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