Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

NO on I-912: Pay no attention to polling

There's supposedly good news for opponents of Initiative 912 in this morning's paper:
The multimillion-dollar ad campaign to defeat Initiative 912 appears to be helping shape public opinion about the new 9.5-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase.

A Survey USA poll conducted for KING/5 showed support for repealing the tax had fallen to 44 percent with the election just one week away. That's down from 50 percent three weeks ago.

Likewise, those who supported the tax approved by state lawmakers earlier this year (and said they would vote against the initiative) increased to 50 percent compared to 42 percent on Oct. 11.
If you're involved in the fight to defeat Initiative 912, you might breathe a sigh of relief after reading this article. But you shouldn't do that. Don't even bother trying to dissect the polling. Concentrate on the task at hand.

There are still six days until November 8th, when we learn how the vote will turn out. One thing I certainly learned working on my first initiative campaign was not to trust polling. In 2002, every bit of polling data we had showed Tim Eyman's Initiative 776 being defeated...but it passed, albeit narrowly (and we think in part because Referendum 51 was also on the ballot that year. None of the polls accounted for any influence R-51 might have on the I-776 vote).

Of course, proponents of 912 dismissed the poll because it didn't show them winning:
Brett Bader, spokesman for I-912, said he did not believe the poll was accurate. "When it comes to ballot measures, polls like this one are often wrong," he said. "We're not seeing any erosion among our supporters."
Polls may not be able to accurately forecast how election results will turn out, but what's interesting is that proponents aren't doing much of anything these days. Their enthusiasm seems to have petered out, and they don't have much of a financial reserve to tap.

On the other hand, grassroots opposition to Initiative 912 has swelled. Numerous groups, many local, have sprung up to join Washington Defense and Keep Washington Rolling in the fight against Initiative 912. All kinds of groups are working together to distribute materials, coordinate phonebanks, and talk to voters.

There is a powerful motivation to act to ensure that we protect this investment in our future. Proponents of 912 seem to remain confident it will pass - and it will, if recent history is any indicator. But attitudes are changing. Recent devleopments have clearly shown what will happen if we don't maintain, repair, and replace our infrastructure.

We have six days left. Join us and do whatever you're able to do to defeat Initiative 912.

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