San Francisco neighborhood voter data reveals key cause of impeachment

Chesa Bowden narrowly won the 2019 election over rival Susie Loftus by less than 2%. On Tuesday, San Francisco rejected Boudin by a much larger margin: Preliminary results indicate that about 60% of voters voted to subpoena the controversial attorney general.

Chronicle’s analysis of the district’s raw data shows that this is partly due to who came to vote this time. While turnout for Tuesday’s election is likely to be similar to the Boden primary, the areas where Boden had less support in 2019 turned out in higher numbers than the neighborhoods that supported him.

The Chronicle examined neighborhoods’ share of voters in the 2019 elections and compared it to their share of voters on Tuesday. Neighborhoods that voted for one of Boudin’s rivals in 2019, including Sunset, Marina, and Pacific Heights, accounted for a larger share of voters in the 2022 election than they did in 2019.

West Twin Peaks and the Sunset saw the largest increase in turnout, going from a total of 16.7% of voters in 2019 to 18.7% in 2022. Both neighborhoods voted strongly for impeachment: 67% of West Twin Peaks voters chose yes in Action H , as did 70% of sunset voters.

Meanwhile, neighborhoods seen as Bowden’s strongholds – Mission, Height and North Bernal Heights, for example – saw their share of voters decline in 2022. Mission, the city’s largest pro-Bodine neighborhood, saw the largest turnout drop of 6.3 % to 5.1%.

This data is still preliminary: it only includes votes from ballots mailed before Election Day and those cast in person on Election Day, which would likely add nearly 60% of the total projected vote, according to the Elections Administration. The other 40% or more of ballot papers received by e-mail received by the Elections Department on Election Day or in the coming days shall still be counted. To get our analysis as close to apples as possible, we examined turnout numbers from recent data reported on election nights of 2019 and 2022.

It’s hard to compare these two elections directly in terms of what they measure about public sentiment about Bowden, or the city’s general public safety. Unlike Tuesday’s elections, which largely ended up around a single candidate, the 2019 elections required voters to cast ballots for the president, DA, city attorney, attorney general, mayor, and many other races in the year prior to the presidential election.

More about Chesa Boudin Recall


While turnout in this election was initially expected to be very low based on early return rates, which measures the number of people who returned to mail-in ballots before Election Day, the EMB now expects turnout among registered voters to be 46%. – Higher than the rate of 42% seen in the 2019 elections, and well above the rate of 36% for recalling the school board in February.

Just as in 2019, Boudin’s support on Tuesday came primarily from constituencies that scored highly on the Chronicle’s Progressive Voter Index, which uses each district’s voting history on different polling measures to give it a score from most to least “progressive.” The PVI index shows that neighborhoods in the heart of the city — Height, Mission, and Bernal Heights — tend to vote more progressively than those on the outer edge, such as Lake Merced, the Visasion Valley and the Marina.

Those outer neighborhoods, who voted against Bowden in 2019, also voted against him on Tuesday. But this time, they were joined by several neighborhoods that voted for Bodin in 2019, including Bayview, Tenderloin and Richmond.


Susie Nelson is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, and Nami Sumida is a developer who visualizes Chronicle data. Email: susan.neilson@sfchronicle.com, nami.sumida@sfchronicle.com Twitter: Tweet embedAnd the Tweet embed

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