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Analyzing the UFT Election – the retiree vote

May 19, 2010 am31 7:28 am

(This is the second of a multi-part series analyzing the vote in the UFT elections earlier this Spring.
Intro – Retirees – more to come)

The simplest part of the UFT vote to analyze are the retirees.

  1. Retirees tend to be steady. This is partially confirmed by slate voting – it was higher among retirees than among any group of active voters.
  2. Retirees have their numbers decreased by those who in the last three years have passed on or become incapacitated.
  3. Retirees have their numbers increased by those who have retired in the last three years.

I’ll turn these into a few simple assumptions.

  1. Retirees rarely change the caucus they support
  2. If a retiree votes in this election, it means they voted in the last election, and for the same caucus. A retiree who didn’t vote continues not to vote.
  3. About 5-10% of retirees who voted last time were no longer here or are unable to vote this time. Those retirees were distributed amongst the caucuses in the same proportion as the 2007 retiree vote was distributed across the caucuses.
  4. The new retirees who voted can be calculated by looking at the difference between each caucus’ 2007 and 2010 total, after adjusting for the 5-10%. The new retirees who voted were voting the same way they voted as active members back in 2007.

Some of these are gross oversimplifications, but none should be wildly off, and it is possible now to examine the numbers and read them.

I read the relatively higher numbers of retirees voting slate as an indication of steadiness in the numbers.

Non Slate Voting Percents
2004 2007 2010
ES 5% 8% 8%
IS/JHS 5% 7% 8%
HS 7% 7% 9%
Functional 8% 12% 13%
Retired 7% 4% 3%
Non Slate Voting One out of every…
2004 2007 2010
ES 20 12 12
IS/JHS 19 14 13
HS 14 13 11
Functional 13 8 8
Retired 15 25 32

The number voting also remains fairly steady:

Mailed Returned % voting
Retired 2004 45,082 21,998 48.8%
2007 50,208 22,427 44.7%
2010 53,560 24,795 46.3%

The totals and percents do not reveal many changes, except for a small uptick for New Action in this election.

Version:1.0 StartHTML:0000000197 EndHTML:0000012700 StartFragment:0000005773 EndFragment:0000012654 SourceURL:file://localhost/Users/jonathanhalabi/Desktop/UFT%20Election%20totals%202010.xls

w/o Non-slate Total Votes Total
Unity NAC ICE/TJC Slate
Retired 2004 18,067 1,558 872 20,497
2007 18,864 1,616 1,061 21,541
2010 20,744 2,234 1,037 24,015
Retired 2004 88.1% 7.6% 4.3%
2007 87.6% 7.5% 4.9%
2010 86.4% 9.3% 4.3%
With Non-slate Total Votes
Unity NAC ICE/TJC Non-slate
Retired 2004 18,067 1,558 872 1,501
2007 18,864 1,616 1,061 886
2010 20,744 2,234 1,037 780
Unity NAC ICE/TJC Non-slate
Retired 2004 82.1% 7.1% 4.0% 6.8%
2007 84.1% 7.2% 4.7% 4.0%
2010 83.7% 9.0% 4.2% 3.1%

But trying to uncover how the new retirees voted, it appears that New Action retired a greater proportion than the other caucuses.

I am assuming that about one in fifteen retirees who voted in 2007 did not do so in 2010. That’s just a guess. And I assume that they are distributed proportionately to the total retiree vote amongst the caucuses. Also just a guess. And then I look at the difference between the remaining votes and the 2010 vote to create a guess to how many new retirees  voted for each caucus.

(slate only)

Unity NAC ICE/TJC Total
2007 Vote 18,864 1,616 1,061 21,541
Decrease (guess) 1415 121 80 1,616
Remaining (guess) 17,449 1,495 981 19,925
2010 Vote 20,744 2,234 1,037 24,015
New Retirees 3,295 739 56 4,090
Percent of new 80.6% 18.1% 1.4%

Seeing that New Action had a jump is different from understanding how or why.

One possibility is that I’ve captured a whole lot of ICE/TJC voters switching to New Action. But there is a high proportion of slate voting amongst retirees, which would indicate less flexibility in voting patterns.

Another possibility is that between 2007 and 2010 there was a demographic blip. Many of those who retired would have been first active at the height of New Action’s strength, when Michael Shulman was elected high school vice president, and when New Action had great strength in the high school and middle school divisions.

A third possibility is that more ICE/TJC retirees stopped voting than retirees from the other caucuses. But there is no particular reason to suggest that this is the case.

Most likely, New Action’s vote among retirees benefited primarily by a disproportionate number of new retirees being New Action supporters, and secondarily by a small number of retirees who voted ICE/TJC in 2007 switching to New Action in 2010.

I’ll use these numbers and assumptions later, when I analyze the vote in the four active member divisions.

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