This November, the citizens of Washington State will decide on six ballot initiatives. The most recent survey from the Washington-based Elway Poll (PDF) found all six initiatives’ popularity below 50 percent. The conventional wisdom is that any high profile ballot measure polling below 50 percent this far out from the election is in serious danger of losing, as most of those left undecided on an initiative tend to default to voting no. According to Leslie Graves at Ballotpedia.org, “Realistically, they each have a very, very steep mountain to climb.”
Elway Poll (PDF) (9/9-12)
I-1053: Require Two-Thirds Majority for Tax Increase
I-1098: Establish “High Incomes” Tax
I-1107: Repeal Tax on Candy, Soda Pop, and Bottled Water
I-1100: Privatize Liquor Sales
I-1105: Privatize Liquor Sales (slightly more regulated)
I-1082: Authorize Private Industrial Insurance
If you live in Washington State and want to replicate the gridlock and endless budget problems found in California thanks to that state’s two-thirds requirement on votes to raise taxes, then ballot measure I-1053 is for you. The measure has lost a huge amount of support since June when it was polling at 65-25, according to a previous Elway Poll.
I-1053 was sponsored by Tim Eyman, who is known for working on dozens of initiative campaigns in the state. A similar measure, I-960, also backed by Eyman, was approved by a narrow 51 percent of voters in 2007, but was repealed by the state legislature in 2010. (A month before the 2007 election, an Elway poll found I-960 leading with 56 percent planning to vote yes.) Some of the measure’s top donors include BP Corporation North America, Conoco Phillips, Equilon, Tesoro Companies Inc., Bank of America, and the Washington Bankers Association.
Interestingly, this year, people have tried to depict the Tea Parties as a grassroots movement emerging from a national wave of anger about being overtaxed, combined with a strong desire to shrink the government. Some will no doubt claim that if Republicans win big this November, it is because Americans really want lower taxes and much less government.
The polling data in Washington State, at least, doesn’t seem to bear that out. The two anti-tax initiatives have pretty weak support at this point. Nor does there seem to be a very strong desire among voters for privatizing the state-run liquor stores or workers’ compensation insurance program.
I see this as fairly good proof that voters are not embracing Republican ideology this election. They are simply getting rid of Democrats because the economy has floundered terribly under Democratic control of the federal government.