New GC Maps Reveal Potential Electoral Strength of Democrats in Staten Island

New maps of Congressional District 11 created by the Graduate Center’s Center for Urban Research reveal the surprising strength of Democrats in the area, which spans all of Staten Island and part of southern Brooklyn.

NY11_Grimm14On May 5, a special election in this district will fill the seat vacated by Representative Michael Grimm, a Republican who won reelection in 2014 by a 13-point margin despite the cloud of a federal indictment. Grimm pleaded guilty to a federal charge of tax evasion in January and resigned his seat.

A plurality of registered voters in the district are enrolled as Democrats, the new maps show. On Staten Island, traditionally seen as a Republican stronghold, 45 percent of voters are registered Democrats, compared with 29 percent enrolled as Republican.

Democrats who have fared well in the district include Governor Andrew Cuomo, who received a larger margin of victory in the 2014 general election (15 percentage points) than Grimm (13 points). In 2012, President Barack Obama won the district with a similar vote margin (51 percent to 48 percent) as Grimm (52 percent to 47 percent).

romalewski“These split-ticket voting patterns suggest that voters in District 11 take a strategic approach to elections rather than straight party-line voting,” says Steven Romalewski (left), Director of the GC’s Mapping Service. “The maps and analysis provide background and context for this closely watched federal race.”

The maps are available at the NYC Election Atlas, a joint project of the Graduate Center, CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism, and the Center for Community and Ethnic Media.