What does it mean.
I dunno. I count 2,697 R lever pullers in the Desantis/Ravenstahl race. As most know, I don't buy the argument many make explicitly or implicitly that voters are not thinking when they pull the party lever (as it was of course before the new computers... it's just a another button now). So I don't buy the thought that most of those votes are going to support LR, unless that is their intent. No real reason to argue over that, we have in the making a great natural experiment to see how the two races compare. One time the lever gave you one candidate, the next time it gives you the guy who was the opponent. It's an almost perfect control. Will LR get the Republican lever pullers that Desantis got last time, and which made up a sizable part of his votes... or do those people change behavior based on the different circumstances. I bet there is a paper to write on those results when they come out. I'm serious.
What I find amazing about the news today on who got what write in votes... why didn't Acklin get any measured votes. Trib version lists the vote count in order as Ravenstahl (607), Wander (189), and that Dowd and Robinson between them had 203 votes. Why no count for Acklin? Seems like it would take some concerted effort to get less than any Democrat did as a Republican write in. Seems that random behavior alone would make that result a bit improbable. Just curious is all.
update. For those who asked... the data for both sides looks like the following which is an update from the raw pre-certified data that night I went into some of this in an old blog post. But data I have says that
Desantis: Total votes- 24,025, Straight ticket R votes- 2,697 . So around 11% of MD votes were straight ticket R votes.
Ravenstahl: Total votes - 43,557, Straight ticket D votes - 21.923. So around 50% of votes LR got were straight ticket D voters.
For those reconciling those numbers with my recent calculus/taxonomy of the Pittsburgh voter... keep in mind the lever pullers are split between two groups I broke out. Both the African American voters and the Democrats Uber Alles group included, but were not limited to lever pullers. Roughly 32% of all votes cast were straight ticket votes which puts in perspective the challenge for an independent. Without a chunk of pretty loyal D voters you lose almost before election day begins. The example of Dick Caliguiri is out there of course. But keep in mind that the late Dick Caliguiri had been the endorsed candidate for mayor over then incumbent Pete Flaherty at one point in the past. So he had some real support within the party base that an 'outside' I would never have. It also would make an interesting history piece as both Pat D. and Kevin A. have invoked Pete Flaherty in their bids for Mayor. Yet the example that Kevin A. at least must hope for is really Flaherty's rival Dick Caliguiri victory. Such is Pittsburgh politics.
Putting the math another way. Even discounting stray votes for minor parties or write ins.. With 32.4% D level pullers... the nominated D only need 26% of the remaining votes. You have to keep in mind that there are plenty of pretty loyal D's in the city who do not pull the lever at all, but vote much as if they did. That 26% includes them as well.