Here’s the key thing: Garcia has a realistic chance of overtaking Adams once absentee ballots are counted.
Adams’ margin over Garcia was just under 15,000 in the final round of ranked choice voting in the last count. To win, Garcia must be ranked higher than Adams on these 126,000 absentee ballots by a 12-point margin.
Such math may seem daunting given that Garcia did 14 points worse than that (i.e. losing by 2 points) in in-person voting.
The good news for Garcia this year is that the people who voted by absentee are likely to be more favorably inclined to her than in-person voters. We don’t know who within these districts voted absentee, but they’re probably voters who demographically match the profile of Garcia voters.
When we drill down further, we see that as of June 23, Garcia led these districts by 28 points over Adams in preferences for the first round. This is even wider than her 13-point advantage over Adams borough-wide in first round preferences.
(This same data revealed that Garcia was up by 22 points over Wiley in in-person first round preferences in these districts. This is important because in the penultimate round of the ranked choice voting for in-person votes, Garcia led Wiley by under 400 votes, which caused Wiley to be eliminated instead of Garcia. It seems likely that absentees will extend Garcia’s penultimate round advantage over Wiley.)
The reason Garcia did well in these districts is fairly simple: they’re White and well-educated. We know from the actual results and pre-election data that Garcia did much better among college-educated and White voters than she did among other voters. Meanwhile, Adams did significantly better among voters without a college degree and Black voters.
This same data shows that about 70% of the residents of these districts are White, which is more than double the citywide average. Just 5% of them were Black, which is only about one-fifth of the citywide average.
The question ultimately is whether the demographic advantage Garcia has in who votes absentee is enough for her to gain the 15,000 votes she needs. That is unclear.
What is clear is Garcia definitely benefited from the ranked choice voting process. Despite coming in third in initial preferences, she was ranked higher than Adams on enough ballots to make this a close race.
What is more surprising is that Garcia picked up more votes than Adams from people who preferred former presidential candidate Andrew Yang. This did not match the pre-election polling.