At first glance, this seems like an easy question to answer. After all, the New York State and New York City Board of Elections regularly publish statistics on who is registered to vote. But looking more closely into it, the real question becomes how we define the Upper West Side. After all, many elected officials’ districts only contain a piece of the Upper West Side, and it’s not like the Boards of Elections list whether a particular Democrat shops at Zabar’s or Fairway.
As of last November, the 6th City Council District, represented by Gale Brewer contains 75,113 active registered Democrats, out of a total active voter list of 109,703 (68% Democrats). But that seems too low, since Council Members Inez Dickens and Melissa Mark-Viverito also represent portions of our neighborhood. We can’t go by Congressional district, unless we want to start claiming such landmarks as Wall Street, Times Square, and the Brooklyn Bridge as “Upper West Side by proxy,” since they’re represented by consummate Upper West Sider Jerry Nadler.
The 67th Assembly District, represented by Linda Rosenthal, has 59,366 active registered Democrats out of a total of 87,354 active voters (also 68% Democrats.) Add to that the 61,390 active registered Democrats in the 69th Assembly District (a phenomenal 77% Democrats), represented by Danny O’Donnell, and you get 120,756 as the best approximation.
Of course, some would say the real test of a Democrat is not whether they register but whether they come out and vote… and vote for Democrats! The 67th and 69th Assembly Districts combined for 107,892 votes for the Obama-Biden ticket on the Democratic line in 2008 – not too shabby! In 2010, 55,602 Upper West Siders cast their ballot for Andrew Cuomo for Governor. But in 2009, only 19,560 Upper West Siders pulled a lever for Bill Thompson for Mayor.
The moral of the story: we may be doing great in registration, but it’s up to us to turn those potential voters into solid, Democratic votes come Election Day!