For the third straight U.S. presidential election, Riverside, Brookfield and North Riverside voters leaned to the left and cast more ballots for the Democratic candidate.
While the local margins of victory on Nov. 6 were a bit smaller than in 2008, Barack Obama made strong showings in all three communities – in both North Riverside and Brookfield, Obama’s margin of victory was greater than his margin in the state of Illinois.
Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, who is a Riverside resident and Riverside Township’s Republican committeeman, said she wasn’t surprised by the local result, even though she feels Riverside Township is a generally conservative place.
The trouble, Topinka said, is that at the national level, Republicans are choosing to nominate candidates who don’t reflect the township’s traditional values – which are fiscally conservative, but socially moderate.
“[Riverside Township] is old-school, tolerant, inviting,” Topinka said. “On social issues we’re a moderate bunch, and when people saw what was coming down on Romney’s side with social issues, I think it might have been a turn-off.
“In terms of the Republican Party, we’re going to have to do more outreach,” Topinka added. “I think if the rest of the party would watch how Riverside Township operates, I think they would be more successful, too.”
Riverside Township Democratic Committeeman John Allegretti said the village and township voters are simply trending Democratic.
“My thought is that it is shifting,” said Allegretti. “More people are identifying with the Democratic Party and the ideals of the Democratic Party.
“I think Riverside voters are enlightened, well-read and well-versed,” he added. “I don’t think it’s just a coincidence.”
Statewide, Obama topped Republican Mitt Romney 57.3 percent to 41.1 percent, which was much stronger than the national popular vote, which saw Obama take 51 percent of the vote, compared to Romney’s 48 percent.
Locally, the difference was the number of people casting ballots for Obama compared to 2008, when voter turnout was especially strong.
For example, in Riverside, Obama took 53.4 percent of the vote compared to Romney’s 43.8. That was a much weaker showing for Obama in Riverside than 2008, when he got 58.1 percent of the vote.
The reason? Obama also received nearly 400 fewer votes in 2012 than he did in 2008. Romney picked up more votes in Riverside than John McCain did back in 2008 – but only eight more.
In fact, in all three villages, while vote totals for the Republican candidate were basically flat compared to 2008, votes for Obama were down noticeably.
In Brookfield, about 520 fewer votes were cast for Obama in 2012; Romney received just 53 fewer than McCain. Meanwhile, in North Riverside, Obama received 130 fewer votes in 2012, while Romney received 80 fewer than McCain.
After sweeping every single precinct in the three villages in 2008, Obama fell just short of that mark in 2012. While he swept every precinct in both Brookfield and North Riverside, one precinct in Riverside went for Romney in 2012 and another finished just two votes shy of doing so.
Riverside’s 1st Precinct, which includes Woodside Road, Maplewood Road and part of the village roughly bounded by Delaplaine, Herrick, Michaux and Cowley, was solidly for Romney.
In Riverside’s 8th, 9th and 10th precincts, which include every other part of Riverside north of Herrick Road, Obama eked out a majority between 49.9 and 51.9 percent.
In Lyons Township Precinct 1, which is the very southern tip of Riverside and is the village’s smallest precinct, Obama won by one vote, 33 to 32, with a vote apiece going to Libertarian candidates Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
Obama’s strongest support in Riverside (at 61.2 percent of the vote) came in the 5th Precinct, which includes the largely multifamily area west of Longcommon Road and south of Park Place, in addition to the residential area west of First Avenue.
Riverside also had the strongest voter turnout of the three villages, with 74.7 percent of registered voters making it to the polls.
Brookfield strong for Obama
Of the three villages, Brookfield came out the strongest for Obama, with 61.7 percent of those casting ballots going with the Democrat over Republican Mitt Romney, who garnered 37.2 percent locally.
Just four precincts in the village failed to give Obama at least 60 percent of the vote. Those included Proviso 63 (roughly everything north of 31st Street); Lyons 45 (bounded roughly by Southview, Shields, Prairie and Madison) and Lyons 6 (bounded by Congress Park, 47th, Elm and DuBois).
Obama’s weakest showing in Brookfield, getting just 54.7 percent of the vote, came in Riverside 11, which is the Hollywood section south of Parkview Avenue.
Meanwhile, Obama racked up almost 70 percent of the vote (69.6) in Proviso 32, in northwest Brookfield and bounded roughly by 31st Street, Jackson, Park and Kemman.
Overall voter turnout in Brookfield was 70 percent, with the highest percentage of registered voters turning out in Proviso Township (71.5).
North Riverside vote similar to 2008
While Obama’s percentage of the vote in Riverside decreased by almost five points, in neighboring North Riverside it fell by less than a point.
Obama still captured 59.8 percent of the vote in North Riverside, aided by a particularly strong showing in Proviso Township Precinct 102, which includes all of the village west of 8th Avenue.
In that precinct, Obama claimed 66.5 percent of the vote. In Riverside Township, Obama did well in Precinct 12 (62.6 percent), which includes a heavy concentration of multifamily buildings along Desplaines Avenue, south of 25th Street to 31st Street.
The president’s weakest showing in North Riverside, though still a majority at 52.3 percent, was in Riverside Precinct 6, the easternmost precinct in the village.
Voter turnout in North Riverside was the lowest of the three villages, at 67.1 percent. In all of suburban Cook County, the unofficial voter turnout was reported to be 69 percent, according to the Cook County Clerk’s Office.