Candidates, analyst agree: Vote result to hinge on turnout

Mayoral election to be held Tuesday, Nov. 8

Indianapolis

Greg Ballard and Melina Kennedy disagree on the incumbent's record of success over the last four years and their visions for the next four, but they agree that turnout will likely determine who Indianapolis' next mayor will be.  A longtime political analysts also says they're right.

"Ballard has demographically an uphill battle," said IUPUI political science professor Dr. Brian Vargas. "This is also a low interest, low information election. I think the turnout will be less than it was in 2007 and it's going to be decided by the strong partisans on either side."

Vargas said evidence of the 2008 national and 2010 Congressional election turnouts prove Marion County is trending Democratic. Both the prosecutor and sheriff's elections in 2010 were won by Democrats. In 2010, 57 percent of county Democrats cast 79,115 votes on a straight party ticket. A total of 42 percent of county Republicans cast 58,140 votes on the straight GOP ballot.

"The Republicans start out with a demographic disadvantage in terms of just sheer numbers and so they have to turn out all of their base and get some independents to be interested and maybe even steal some Democrats that are mad for whatever reason of another," said Vargas. "That is a tough 3-bank billiard shot but it can done."

Indianapolis' African American vote has traditionally trended Democratic but the mayor is hopeful his record will help him make inroads into Kennedy's base

"We eliminated a 240 case backlog of discrimination claims against the city," said Ballard. "The minority business contracts for the city has gone up five-fold. They see the difference, they understand the difference, that's why so many of them are coming out publicly to support us."

Even though some black clergy members are supporting Ballard, Kennedy is confident she will maintain her base.

"There is not a vote that I would take for granted. I'm going to continue to talk to every resident that I can about my vision for the city."

Ballard insists he's making progress with Democrats.

"There's quite a few who have been whispering in my ear that they like the way the city is going and they'll be voting my way."

"I have been focusing on the fact that its not just about Democrats or Republicans," Kennedy said. "It's about a vision and a plan for the city so I'm reaching out to Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike."

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