San Diego County Ballot Returns (E-16 Days)

Mason Herron Undesignated 19 Comments


As of October 23, 2016 at 5:00pm, 988,234 ballots have been mailed to registered voters throughout the county. 129,717 voters have voted (either by returning their ballot, or through early voting).

This equates to an overall voting rate of 13.13% among all ballots mailed.

Breaking down the ballots by party, total returns are comprised of 35.24% Republicans (3.79% above registration), 41.80% Democrats (4.85% above registration), and 22.96% independent (8.64% below registration).

(Click to enlarge)

I want to take a moment to note that Paul Mitchell from PDI made an interesting observation regarding how VBM voting has changed since 2012. The graph below shows that while GOP participation has essentially hit a ceiling, the growth among Democrats has been high, which may (partly) explain why they’re doing relatively well in VBMs.


Here is an overview of how AV returns have come in, relative to registration. These are the final totals for these elections.

2014 General 2012 General 2010 General
Dem Rep Other Dem Rep Other Dem Rep Other
AV Return 36% 42% 23% 36% 40% 28% 35% 44% 22%
Registration 35% 33% 33% 35% 34% 31% 35% 36% 29%
Difference 1% 9% -10% 1% 6% -3% 0% 8% -7%

More in-depth breakdowns: County of San Diego, City of San Diego, Supervisor District 3.

If you have questions on any of these breakdowns, or would like a breakdown on a specific jurisdiction not listed, please e-mail me at

Note: These returns are based on data provided by the Registrar of Voters to Political Data Inc. Accordingly, there is likely a delay of at least 1-2 days relative to the actual number of ballots returned.


Comments 19

  1. While these numbers don’t bode well for Republican candidates, even worse is the lack of comments on this conservative Republican blog in the weeks leading up to a Presidential election. If this is any indication of Republican enthusiasm (or lack thereof), it is going to be a very bad November 8.

  2. HQ and All:

    That might be a logical thing to surmise, but we learned a long time ago the number of views has little to do with the number of comments.

    In fact, Mr. Herron’s posts with the ballot return data always cause a noticeable “bump” of about 100 to 200 click thrus from Twitter and Facebook in the immediate hours after being shared on social media. To us, that is evidence of those involved in the political process being interested in the data, as information, but not as something to debate. (Political operatives, not those wanting to debate the info.)

    More so, this year the viewership has been very close to what it was for Rostra in the last two election years, although comments are fewer. Two main reasons may be at play here (and there may be others)…

    -In the past, one or two commenters would sometimes drive reaction and rebuttal, based on a focused agenda they may have, such as “Founding Father’s” disdain for Carl DeMaio and the local GOP a couple of years ago. When such commenters choose not to engage, others don’t have anything they may want to react to — and thus they only use the site as an information tool.

    -The discussion about specific posts is often much more prevalent on Facebook, for instance, then on the blog. When an author posts a Rostra blog link on their own Facebook wall, the discussion — often significant — takes place there, not here in the comments. We used to be very active in asking those commenting on Facebook to do so here, but that has become somewhat an effort to no avail. So, readers are debating many of the posts, just not here.

    That second point brings up a good issue for us, however, now that Rostra has been redesigned: Tying Rostra comments on a post directly to Facebook and vice-versa, much like is done with the SDUT and other sites. We’ll look into it.

    See below for a link to the 30-day viewership. We’ve never marketed this site as thousands of mass viewers, BTW, but as a site specific to those actively involved in politics in San Diego.

    Thanks for the feedback.


  3. T.A.,

    Don’t get me wrong. I think highly of this blog as should be obvious by my level of participation. I was just pointing out what I also have noticed in the “real world” too and that is that Republicans seem much less inclined to discuss politics this year than they have been in any Presidential election year that I can remember. I don’t think that fact, if it really is a fact, bodes well for Republican candidates this year.

  4. There may be another explanation, HQ; Trump shaming.

    Want proof? Go to your local library and ask to check out “Art of the Deal”…then duck. Better yet, read that book at your local Starbucks.

    I know a lot of people who are shutting their mouths and voting Republican.

  5. I might be talking past you, HQ. I agree that Trump ain’t gonna win San Diego County but his loss might not translate to a blow out down ballot.

    My old cul-de-sac was a perfect San Diego County sample: 10 houses, one rabid conservative household (guess who?), two quiet Republicans (who only told me), one split household which leaned slightly right, two rabid liberals, one quiet Democratic household, two DTS households and one household with no interest in voting.

    Only the split household is outspoken for Trump. The Reps and a DTS will publicly agree with the rabid liberals and vote for Trump anyway.

  6. Brian,

    I too know that Trump isn’t going to win San Diego County. In fact, I am very confident that at exactly 8:00pm on November 8, every network, including FOX, will be projecting that Americans need to get used to the term “Madame President.” I would also bet that later that evening, but before either of us calls it a night, it will be apparent that Mitch McConnell will be the new Senate Minority Leader and that the Republican domination of the House has been significantly reduced.

    As for local down-ballot races, with the possible exception of Gaspar (and I wouldn’t bet all my money on her), the Republicans will not have any gains to brag about.

    What is your prediction.

  7. I am confident that every major network will call the election for Clinton at 4PM EST, based on exit polling, in order to suppress the vote in three time zones. They have been playing that game since 2000 when they called Florida (incorrectly) and handed Gore 40 electoral votes.

    I’m quite confident of THAT. I am also quite confident that Ray Ellis won’t win District One, Duncan Hunter will return to Congress, and Leo Hamel won’t win an Assembly seat. I am reasonably confident that Richard Bailey wins the mayor of Coronado by 6-9 points and that a Republican wins a seat in Solana Beach. I am pretty confident that Republicans will win 2 or 3 seats on the Encinitas Council

    If Gaspar’s campaign gets the message out that Dave Roberts bullies his women employees (seriously, the dude is worse than Trump), she should win big. If her campaign team continues to use esoteric phrases like “Integrity matters”, and denies the voters the chance to know the @RealDaveRoberts, she loses.

    If Issa and Hickey don’t tell the voters that their opponents are importing Nancy Pelosi values to San Diego County, they lose.

  8. You’re on to something Brian. A small sample size. I just finished walking 143 households in 2 precincts in Point Loma. When I handed the voting guide to people, most of them quietly said something like, “What do you think of this election?” When I enthusiastically supported Trump, they opened up and said comments such as, “Me too but I don’t talk about it” or “So do I but I can’t talk about it with my neighbors”. Almost all the ones I talked with were voting an all Republican ballot.

    The hysterical Trump shaming of the media has kept people from talking about Trump but they will still vote Trump. The Bradley Effect for Trump is real this year. Another indication, in Pennsylvania, 97,602 Democrats have re-registered Republican to vote for Trump.

    There is a lot of enthusiasm for Trump and very little for Hillary. Trump rallies from many months ago until now, play to packed halls, not so with Hillary. The Trump rally in Florida today drew over 25,000 people. Tim Kaine’s rally for Hillary in Florida drew 30 people today.

    There are a lot of DTS and Independents that support Trump who used to be Republican but switched out of disgust for RINO’s and establishment Republicans. Trump is resonating with these people who want secure borders, deportation of criminal aliens, law and order, the right to life, and repeal and replacement of the disaster called Obamacare.

    IBD call this race a dead heat I agree. One factor I think will be who turns out their voters. Another important factor will be Christians. Over 5 million Christians didn’t vote for Romney but with support of Christian leaders like Franklin Graham and Pat Robertson, I think Evangelicals and large numbers of pro-life Catholics will be voting Trump.

  9. Brian,

    I can virtually guarantee you that no major network will project the result of a state until that state’s polls are closed and no major network will project the winner of the Presidential race until that person is projected to have won 270 or more electoral votes. That being said, it is possible that Clinton could have enough states won to be projected as the winner before California closes its polls, but I doubt it. Hence my 8:00pm PST prediction.

    As for the “close” local races, I actually tend to agree with you about Roberts-Gaspar, I believe Issa will win a squeaker and Hickey has almost no chance.

  10. “That being said, it is possible that Clinton could have enough states won to be projected as the winner before California closes its polls, but I doubt it. ”

    Conventional wisdom tells me to agree that Trump will lose and lose big nationally. All evidence tells me that Clinton will have an electoral college victory by the times the polls close in Colorado…BUT…

    This is an awfully weird election cycle. I have received calls from friends (who are die hard Democrats) back east wondering why I’m not over-the-top for Trump (they love him). Michael MOORE (of all people) thinks Trump could be elected because of the giant middle finger vote.

    There are a lot of Americans who think politicians from both parties are corrupt and, to use a Trump expression, they want someone to “Drain The Swamp”. One year, the American people are going to deliver one big, purple middle finger on election day. Pollsters, pundits, talking heads, and (dare I say) “high information San Diegans, posting on a blog under pseudonyns” are going to be shocked

    I don’t THINK we’ll see it in 2016 but it’s gonna happen. This is the weirdest cycle I’ve ever seen

  11. Brian,

    I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see a complete outsider with a populist message elected President some day but it will have to be one with much less baggage. Donald Trump has a message that is resonating; he is just the wrong messenger.

    On the other hand, maybe this is just an aberration. Had there been less than 16 other ‘main-stream” Republican primary candidates, Donald Trump may have been just a footnote and we would have been getting ready for a President Kasich, Rubio or Bush.

  12. Donald Trump beat a stellar line-up of Republican primary candidates for a reason. As you said, Hypocrisy, “he has a message that is resonating”…with the American people who are tired of being sold out by the Republican and Democrat elite establishment.

    People are angry and fed up. The governor of Pennsylvania admitted that Trump supporters have a big enthusiasm edge over Mrs. Clinton supporters. I think 2016 is the year that the people, through Donald Trump, take back their country. There was NO enthusiasm for Romney, there is a LOT for Trump.

    Trump has a lot of baggage? You mean the tired Democrat War on Women that’s been used for the last 3 Presidential elections? This is the only Democrat strategy against Trump. The people say that Trump is on the right side of protecting American borders, extreme vetting of Muslims, repealing and replacing the Obamacare disaster (dumping welfare people and illegal aliens on Medicare that they don’t pay into Medicare will ruin it for the Americans that paid for it), and repealing the overwhelming regulations that are destroying jobs and small businesses.

    Brian, “big, purple middle finger”? I agree. As we both have said, the polls are finally starting to reflect the true reality of the populist revolution in this election. Hillary is NOT running away with this. Trump is trending very strong in the closing days of this election. IBD- Clinton +2, Rasmussen- +1, LA Times/USC- Even, Bloomberg Florida- Clinton +2. The closer the election, the closer this race.

  13. Daniel and Brian,

    I will give you this. The polls this year have showed significantly more variation in results than they were showing at this time in either of the last two elections. That being said, the vast majority have shown Clinton anywhere from somewhat more than slightly ahead to very far ahead.

    By the way, the Bloomberg Florida Poll had an equal number of Republicans and Democrats even though Democrats have a 2.5% registration advantage. In a close race, and Florida will be close, that is enough to skew (unintentionally) a poll.

    Bottom line, we will all find it on November 8. If you were a smart betting man, your money would be on Clinton, but I will be the first to admit that even smart gamblers lose an occasional bet.

  14. “Donald Trump beat a stellar line-up of Republican primary candidates for a reason.”

    Let’s not go down that road. The media giveth (for Hillary) and the media taketh (from Trump).

    HQ– I do think Clinton will win but this is one weird cycle. She is universally despised and he is actually gaining ground. He sounds sharp, reasonable, and policy-oriented.

    Give it 3 days and he’ll trip over his own richard again.

  15. HQ,

    It’s just sex stuff.

    Clinton will announce that this whole FBI thing is a revenge plot by Anthony Weiner to out the fact that she and Huma are having a relationship

    She and Huma will appear as a couple and announce that it’s not only time for the first woman president, it’s time for the first bisexual president.

    Clinton wins in a landslide

  16. Brian,

    Most attempts at humor are only truly funny if there is a hint of truth to them and that was genuinely funny. Well played!

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