NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Poll Watch: Tim Eyman’s Initiative 517 is sinking like a rock, new surveys show

It looks like our efforts to edu­cate vot­ers about the cost and con­se­quences of Tim Eyman’s ini­tia­tive on ini­tia­tive (I‑517) are start­ing to pay off. Hurrah!

The last two sur­veys to gauge sup­port for Ini­tia­tive 517 both show sup­port for the mea­sure drop­ping, and the most recent of the two — just released today — finds that oppo­si­tion to I‑517 is greater than the sup­port for I‑517, with just a week to go before Elec­tion Day. This is big news, and very good news.

The polls were con­duct­ed by the firms found­ed by Stu­art Elway (out of Seat­tle) and Bob Moore (run out of Port­land). Elway and Moore have both been con­duct­ing pub­lic opin­ion research in the Pacif­ic North­west for a very long time.

Here are the results from Elway’s poll:

Elway Poll on I‑517 of 413 reg­is­tered voters
Con­duct­ed Octo­ber 15th — 17th (land­lines and cellphones)
Mar­gin of error is plus or minus five per­cent­age points

Yes: 52% (25% def­i­nite­ly yes)
No: 25% (18% def­i­nite­ly no)
Unde­cid­ed: 23%

Elway pre­vi­ous­ly polled on I‑517 in Sep­tem­ber and found sup­port for the mea­sure at 58% and oppo­si­tion at 22%. Elway’s Octo­ber poll was most­ly con­duct­ed pri­or to the launch of the NO on I‑517 Coali­tion’s tele­vi­sion spot, “Get Ready”. Moore Infor­ma­tion’s poll, on the oth­er hand, was con­duct­ed after “Get Ready” had begun air­ing, and shows sup­port for I‑517 collapsing:

Moore Infor­ma­tion Poll on I‑517 of 500 like­ly voters
Con­duct­ed Octo­ber 23rd — 24th (land­lines and cellphones)
Mar­gin of error is plus or minus four per­cent­age points

Have already vot­ed or plan to vote

Yes: 33%
No: 40%
Don’t know/refused: 27%

Among those who have already vot­ed, Moore found oppo­si­tion was even high­er. 48% said they had vot­ed no on I‑517, while 28% said they had vot­ed yes and 24% did not know or refused to answer. That’s a very big gap between yes and no. If the trend holds, we could see I‑517 go down to defeat by a com­fort­able margin.

More insights from Moore:

Impor­tant­ly, inten­si­ty is stronger on the “no” side – among those who have yet to cast their bal­lots, 21% say they are a “def­i­nite” no vote, while only 11% are a def­i­nite “yes” vote.

There is plu­ral­i­ty oppo­si­tion to I‑517 in East­ern Wash­ing­ton and the Cen­tral Puget Sound region, but a plu­ral­i­ty of vot­ers resid­ing in the rest of West­ern Wash­ing­ton out­side Cen­tral Puget Sound favor the mea­sure.  Both Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans oppose I‑517, but Inde­pen­dents are sup­port­ive. There are also sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences in sen­ti­ment by age – younger vot­ers (age 18–34) sup­port I‑517, while vot­ers age 35–64 are divid­ed and a plu­ral­i­ty of seniors are opposed.

It looks like we need to bol­ster our out­reach to young vot­ers. But it’s good to know that our cam­paign is mak­ing a difference.

The NO on I‑517 Coali­tion is one of the most diverse, bipar­ti­san cam­paigns ever assem­bled to oppose a bal­lot mea­sure in Wash­ing­ton State. It includes NPI and the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, as well as the Main­stream Repub­li­cans and the Asso­ci­a­tion of Wash­ing­ton Busi­ness. Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee oppos­es I‑517, as does for­mer Attor­ney Gen­er­al Rob McKen­na, who he ran against last year.

Seat­tle’s major sports teams are on board too, as are most of the state’s retail­ers, from the inde­pen­dent and fam­i­ly owned gro­cers that belong to the Wash­ing­ton Food Indus­try Asso­ci­a­tion to the well-known super­mar­kets and home improve­ment stores that have pro­vid­ed finan­cial sup­port to the coalition.

As of this week, the coali­tion has raised around $600,000 in cash and in-kind con­tri­bu­tions. Most of the coali­tion’s donors are indi­vid­u­als or inde­pen­dent­ly-owned, fam­i­ly-run stores. The largest dona­tions to the cam­paign have come from Safe­way, Kroger, and the Wash­ing­ton Retail Association.

The Yes side has bare­ly report­ed rais­ing any mon­ey since the sig­na­ture dri­ve end­ed. Tim Eyman has min­i­mized his involve­ment in the cam­paign, and claims to be work­ing on an ini­tia­tive for 2014. Eyman and his asso­ciates’ I‑517 oper­a­tion remains under inves­ti­ga­tion by the Pub­lic Dis­clo­sure Com­mis­sion (PDC) for vio­lat­ing the state’s pub­lic dis­clo­sure laws dur­ing the ini­tia­tive’s sig­na­ture dri­ve last year.

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  1. Good news. Down with 517! 

    # by Jacquelyn Sherrod :: October 31st, 2013 at 11:00 AM
  2. I’m so sick of Eyman ini­tia­tives. Our tran­sit ser­vice has been suf­fer­ing ever since I‑695 and I‑776 went into effect. When will we be free of him? 

    # by Isabelle Simon :: October 31st, 2013 at 9:43 PM
  3. Nice appar­ent results, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Left the area on the 27th and I DIDN’T see any ads against the ini­tia­tive up till then. I could­n’t under­stand WHY the gro­cery stores were putting so much mon­ey against 522 and NOTHING if any­thing against this Eyn­man ini­tia­tive which would allow him free access to their stores. Very stange.

    # by Carol :: November 3rd, 2013 at 7:49 PM
    • Have faith, Car­ol. We’ve beat­en Eyman before, and we can do so again this year. 

      I don’t put much stock in polls myself. I believe the only real poll is the elec­tion. But we have waged an actu­al cam­paign against I‑517, where­as the Yes side is not cam­paign­ing. They’ve con­sis­tent­ly failed to send peo­ple to forums to make the case for the ini­tia­tive, they are not doing any vot­er out­reach, and now they’re even neglect­ing to respond to inter­view requests. They’re hop­ing the bal­lot title will car­ry them to vic­to­ry. As I said in the post, I don’t think that is going to work. 

      Safe­way, Kroger, and oth­er retail­ers have col­lec­tive­ly donat­ed hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars to fight I‑517. I would­n’t call that noth­ing. Also, the stores oppos­ing I‑517 are not involved in the No on 522 cam­paign, at least not finan­cial­ly. I think you are con­fus­ing the Gro­cery Man­u­fac­tur­ers Asso­ci­a­tion (GMA) and its mem­bers (like Kel­log­g’s or Gen­er­al Mills) with the Wash­ing­ton Retail Asso­ci­a­tion, the Wash­ing­ton Food Indus­try Asso­ci­a­tion, and their members.

      # by Andrew :: November 3rd, 2013 at 8:34 PM
  4. Your ad against I517 is wrong on 1 point.
    Only the courts can deter­mine e legit­i­ma­cy or con­sti­tu­tion­al­i­ty of a law passed by initiative.
    Any spec­u­la­tion as to a law/initiative pri­or to it’s test in the courts is just opin­ion and wish­ful thinking.

    Your neg­a­tive ad is VERY mis­lead­ing on this and oth­er points

    # by Tom Welter :: November 4th, 2013 at 10:37 AM
  5. Tom, it’s our belief that I‑517 is uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, and we are free to express that opin­ion. The courts, inci­den­tal­ly, do not sim­ply ren­der pro­nounce­ments about whether ini­tia­tives are con­sti­tu­tion­al or not. A group of plain­tiffs seek­ing to have a law over­turned as uncon­sti­tu­tion­al can’t just say to the courts, Look into this, will you, and get back to us. That is not how our legal sys­tem works. The plain­tiffs instead have to lay out their argu­ments and make the case that the ini­tia­tive is uncon­sti­tu­tion­al. They have to per­suade the court that their analy­sis is the cor­rect analy­sis. The attor­neys take a stand and defend it before the court. The court does not rule until after it has con­sid­ered the argu­ments. But the argu­ments get made pri­or to the judgment. 

    We are mak­ing our opin­ion about I‑517 known in the court of pub­lic opin­ion, as is our right. There is noth­ing mis­lead­ing about us say­ing I‑517 is uncon­sti­tu­tion­al. If an ini­tia­tive is poor­ly con­ceived, that is a good rea­son to vote against it. Saves a lot of time and trou­ble lat­er on. We real­ly ought to have pri­or legal review of ini­tia­tives like Alas­ka does, but unfor­tu­nate­ly, we don’t. 

    What oth­er points did you find misleading?

    # by Andrew :: November 4th, 2013 at 11:12 AM
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