ILR School

Analyzing the Turnout Gap Between Tenants and Homeowners in the 2022 New York State General Election

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This article explores the gap in voter turnout by housing tenure in New York State (NYS) through analyses of detailed voter records from Catalist, a commercial data vendor that augments official state voter files with modeled attributes to represent each voter’s likely race-ethnicity and housing tenure, among other characteristics. Using these data, the article finds that likely renters turned out to vote in the most recent (2022) statewide NYS General Election at rates that were, on average, 31 percentage points lower than their likely homeowner counterparts. This finding is similar to the size of the tenure turnout gap that can be estimated from national public data sources. Importantly, though, the analysis finds that renter turnout was significantly higher in races that featured vocal supporters of a policy known as “Good Cause” eviction. Relative to a 31-percentage point difference, the turnout gap between likely renters and likely owners in such races dropped to, on average, 18 percentage points. The implication is that tenants might be more inclined to participate in statewide elections when they see a clear opportunity to advance pro-tenant policies and interests. The article ends with a thought experiment that shows what the 2022 General Election could have looked like if likely tenants turned out at the same rate as their likely homeowner counterparts. In this scenario, likely renters would have cast a majority of ballots in a majority of districts in both houses of the legislature, as well as in statewide contests. In other words, in NYS, a unified tenant voting bloc that turns out at the same rate as homeowners potentially has the power to form a pro-tenant-majority government in NYS. Two interactive mapping applications accompany this release: (1) a Senate District-level tool for exploring actual voter turnout by tenure, race, and party and simulating what these turnout rates would look like if renters voted at the same rates as homeowners; and (2) an Assembly District-level tool for performing the same analyses. Visit to access these tools.

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Cornell University, ILR School, Buffalo Co-Lab Initiative


New York State; voter turnout; tenancy; home ownership; 2022 general election


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