Democratic primary for governor

The deeper the color -- blue for Andrew Cuomo, yellow for Cynthia Nixon -- the larger the margin for victory of that candidate.

Where the votes are

This is basically a square pie chart that shows the gubernatorial primary results by county based on how many votes were cast in that county. It's a way of highlighting how the downstate counties make up such a large portion of the total pie.

2018 Democratic primary governor tree graph

Democratic primary for state Attorney General

Yellow counties won by Tish James, green by Zephyr Teachout, blue by Sean Patrick Maloney.

Clickable maps of county-by-county results for the Cuomo-Nixon Democratic primary, and state attorney general

New York State Democratic primary governor 2018 map

Andrew Cuomo won by a wide margin overall in the Democratic primary, but as in 2014, he didn't fare well in the greater Capital Region.

For easy scanning and discussion: We've rolled together a few clickable maps based on the results of the Democratic primaries Thursday, including Andrew Cuomo's win over Cynthia Nixon in the gubernatorial primary and the crowded race for state Attorney General.

And here are those maps, along with a few notes...

Look up

The maps are at the top in large format -- click or scroll all the way up.

All the numbers in the maps -- and those discussed below -- are unofficial results from the state Board of Elections, with 99.5 percent of election districts reporting. The final tallies will no doubt change a little bit in the end.


Andrew Cuomo and Cynthia Nixon

Cuomo's margin of victory
Andrew Cuomo won 64-34, which is a big win however you count it. And it more or less matches up with that Siena poll that had been released on Monday, though Cynthia Nixon did manage to land a larger share of the votes than poll predicted.

As it happens, Cuomo's margin of victory is roughly the same as it was in 2014 against Zephyr Teachout. That's maybe a little bit surprising considering that Nixon's challenge got a lot more media attention that that of Teachout.

One of the interesting bits from that Siena poll was that of the people who said they were voting for Nixon, half of them said they were, to some degree, voting that way to vote against Cuomo. So some of the results from both four years ago and this time around might illustrate that there's a core group of Democrats who just aren't on board with Cuomo.

The Capital Region
And it appears a lot of those NOT-Cuomo Democrats are in the Capital Region. In a repeat from 2014, the governor again did not fare well among the Democratic primary voters in the greater Capital Region.

Cuomo lost the Capital Region's four core counties 46-50 to Nixon. Though it's worth noting that's actually an improvement from his performance here against Teachout four years ago (33-59).

It's worth thinking about why Cuomo hasn't done well here among Democratic primary voters. One thing that differentiates this part of the state is that it has a lot of people who work for (or with) state agencies. It also probably has a higher percentage of people who pay attention to state politics. We're curious if those two things play a role somehow in Cuomo challengers doing well here.

New York City
Despite Cynthia Nixon's focus on New York City issues such as the subway, the primary wasn't close there -- Cuomo won 66-33. Cuomo did even better in the NYC suburb counties: 72-30.

And that area (or areas) represents a huge slice of Democratic primary voters -- roughly 3/4 in this primary election.

Huge turnout
Speaking of the voters themselves, this primary had huge turnout compared to the last time around. There were more than 1.5 million ballots cast this year compared to approximately 575,000 in 2014.

It's heartening to see people showing up to vote.

(Though it's worth noting that this year's total still represented just about 27 percent of what the Board of Election categorizes as "active enrolled Democrats.")

State Attorney General

New York City Public Advocate Tish James won the Democratic primary for state Attorney General with 39 percent in a four-candidate field that also included Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout (30 percent), Hudson Valley Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (24 percent), and lobbyist/former Hillary Clinton advisor Leecia Eve (3 percent).

And her victory was largely the result of piling up big vote totals downstate, which in this case we're defining as Rockland and Westchester and everything south of there. James took 46 percent of the vote there. And those counties accounted for 75 percent of the votes cast in the AG primary.

Though it's worth noting that Zephyr Teachout won Manhattan with 42 percent of the votes there.

Upstate was pretty much all Maloney and Teachout, as they collectively won 74 percent of the votes there.

Would things have been different if a candidate dropped out?
Teachout's second-placed finish, and strong showing in Manhattan and upstate, prompted some chatter on Twitter Friday about whether she might have been able to win if Maloney had not been in the race. Essentially, the argument is that they split votes that would have gone to a single candidate had they not been in the race.

Looking at the results, it's probably fair to figure that Teachout would have done better without Maloney as she probably would have gotten a lot more upstate votes. But James probably would gotten some of those, too.

So we ran the numbers under the assumption that Teachout and James would have split Maloney's votes 60/40. And Teachout still comes out about 65,000 votes short of James, largely because James did so well in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. (Of course, a different split could have meant a different outcome. Example: A 70/30 split would have narrowly put Teachout over the top.)

A different voting system
The results of he AG primary are another example of how the standard elections setup in the US doesn't necessary do well when the field has more than two candidates. And it's not unbelievable to think there might have been a different outcome in this primary with a system such as ranked-choice voting.

Albany County write-ins

An odd thing from this primary: There were 1,112 write-in votes in Albany County for the gubernatorial primary. Albany County accounted for not quite 2 percent of all the votes cast -- but roughly 20 percent all of the write-ins.

So... we're curious to see who those write-ins are for.


It's funny how the Cuomo/Nixon map mirrors the Cuomo/Teachout map from 2014, although it's less divided by geography than 2014. Then Cuomo had counties over 80%, and Teachout had counties over 70%.,_2014#/media/File:New_York_gubernatorial_Democratic_primary,_2014.svg

I'm always surprised how well Cuomo does in NYC after all the headbutting with DeBlasio over NYC home rule issues.

there's a core group of Democrats who just aren't on board with Cuomo
who happen to be the most aware of the state politics due to physical proximity to the capital. If only the rest of the state was in the know. Retweet, people. Let the downstaters know what's going on.

This has got to be the best breakdown and analysis of the NYS dem primary I have ever seen and the multi hypothesis are accurate. Cuomo is difficult. NY deserves better.

Cuomo is a highly effective chief executive. Look at his record. I'm shocked that upstate people would vote for Nixon, given that her ads were entirely NYC based, and she has no upstate experience. The upstate economy is highly unique, and to govern the entire state effectively, a governor must have a strong grasp of what differentiates the Southern Tier from the North Country, from the Finger Lakes regions. Cynthia Nixon had no experience in this space, nor did she campaign as if she cares about upstate. People are so easily taken in by lofty rhetoric!

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