Turnout for M66 and M67 lagging?

Paul Gronke

I have produced preliminary graphics comparing voter turnout for M66 and M67.  Compared to what I would argue is the most comparable measure--the temporary income tax surcharge that Oregonians voted on in January, 2003, turnout in Multnomah County is lagging by 8%.  I have also plotted the figures for the 2008 presidential contest to provide a bit of historical context.

I'm a bit reluctant to post the statewide figures yet because only three days of data are available at present.

The gap in the 2003 figure, by the way, is because they did not count any ballots on the King holiday.

Untitled Image

  • paul (unverified)

    Argh, Kari can you fix the formatting?

  • paul (unverified)

    Ok fixed it. Sorry.

  • (Show?)

    You could just as well say we are ahead since we are doing better than in the Presidential election. Too early to mean anything.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)

    Just to note that the vote on M66 & 67 is in 1/2010. Did the 2003 measure appear alone on the ballot?

  • (Show?)

    I went ahead and made the image larger.

  • Ian McDonald (unverified)

    Paul; what's your take on how turnout will affect the likelihood of passage?

  • (Show?)

    Ed, sorry for that typo. I'll fix in a minute. I agree with John, we can't make any conclusions until about a week in. And yes, the only measure on the ballot in 2003 was the surcharge.

    Ian, I don't know honestly. I assumed that there would be a bigger spike based on a the totally unscientific experience at my local public library, where the drop box was completely full the first Saturday.

    There has been evidence that Oregonians have been holding their ballots longer and longer--we are only one decade into vote by mail, many seem to forget, and the electorate is still adjusting. In that case, this turnout pattern means nothing.

    So John may be right--turnout may actually be tracking ahead of what we'd expect. I'd be surprised, however, if overall turnout broke 70%.

    I can't see any reason to wait for late breaking information, like was possibly happening in 2008.

    I don't know... brainstorming here ... what are your thoughts?

  • Ian McDonald (unverified)

    I have a mild suspicion that lower turnout will be a positive sign for the Yes side. I wonder if turnout is more reliable, for this kind of election, in Multnomah County, relative to the rest of the state.

  • Rev Jim (unverified)

    I have heard the AFP group is pushing hard on NO. Is this true? They seem to be very organized.

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)

    Too early, too little data, methinks. But I'm a numbers nut so I love all charts/graphs.

    What does everyone think the final voter turnout will be statewide, percentage-wise? 40%? 25%? or higher?

  • notchomsky (unverified)

    Anybody heard the many NO on 66/67 commercials on KPOJ, the "progressive" station in Portland?

    When the same Democrats who support "progressive" Obama at a rate of eight in ten (http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2010/01/11/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry6084818.shtml), in spite of his having betrayed them on almost every issue that progressives care about, hear that "progressive" KPOJ is opposed to 66 and 67, they then will assume that that's the progressive position.

  • Jim (unverified)

    Re commercials on KPOJ, I assume they have the same policy as most other commercial media: they'll take advertising from anyone. That does not mean they support the commercial. That said, the main point of your statement rings true--if I didn't know the policy, I might assume they are opposed to the measures.

  • (Show?)

    KPOJ --- Numerous times commentators have been very clear. Advertising and is not indicative of policies, sentiments or viewpoints of hosts or staff. If the NO people want to waste their $ on a primarily progressive audience, fine. This audience, if they've had any ear to the station at all, would be very clear about the on-air folks' positive stance on YES.


    Usual thot is that lower voter turnout will reflect better for Republicans and Republican causes. We can turn this paradigm on its head by ensuring the Democratic, Green, Working Families and Socialist party members turn out to vote.

    It's important that we not simply spectate and speculate, we gotta move this thing. Drop a slate card, make a call... be part of the MLK day Canvass.

    Something is going on EVERY day so there is no excuse to simply sit back and watch. CALL the campaign at 503-234-0444 and schedule yourself in.

    You wanna drop some slate cards? Contact me at [email protected]

    We need a SIGNIFICANT turnout in Multnomah County.

  • (Show?)

    This audience, if they've had any ear to the station at all, would be very clear about the on-air folks' positive stance on YES.

    The position of KPOJ's local on-air talent is clear; but Carl & Christine are only on the air in the mornings. Someone who only listens in the afternoons won't hear much about 66 and 67 other than the ads.

    It's true that the No side is trying to confuse progressives by running ads on KPOJ, but that's the point. Good thing the Yes side is now running ads there, too.

  • dan (unverified)

    It's true that the No side is trying to confuse progressives by running ads on KPOJ

    Progressives who are vigilant enough to vote on schedule, but not mindful to even read the description on the ballot? Also, KPOJ listeners who's ears would not catch the buzzwords in the NO ads?

  • Ed Hershey (unverified)

    At least in Oregon we can accurately track turnout data. It often amuses me to see the wildly disparate anecdotally based turnout projections from states with day-of-election voting, often accompanied by a quote from some grizzled poll worker who declares that lines have not been this long at 10 a.m. since JFK's election.

  • (Show?)

    Alright, so I should have said on air local folk. Then the question is... are progressives that vulnerable and gullible to swallow a NO ad without the balancing YES ad.

    My general take is that A) progressives - as a whole - are smarter than that. B) if one has the wear-with-all to find KPOJ, they probably live beyond the walls of their particular cave enough to observe that there is a *^@#load of other campaign material out there, particularly YES.. at least in PDX

    My strategic take is hell, yes, NO ads should be countered... In elections, ya just can't take ANYTHING for granted.

  • (Show?)

    Paul's data is interesting and worrisome. The 2003 election revealed a hot start and a significant slowdown. The first 6 days of the 2003 reports showed 34% of the voters had returned ballots. The final 6 days brought in only 30% more for a turnout of 64%. If this election parallels that 2003 January tax measure election, we are still behind pace and doomed to slow.

    I tend to hope that with all the effort out there, this election curve will follow that of NOV. 2008, where we're slightly ahead of pace. But the only parallel to that election is that it is the most recent election, and we hope that Democratic and progressive voter behavior will repeat itself.

    The real tell is in the final weekend. In 2003 between Friday night and Tuesday 5pm, only about 13-14% more ballots trickled in. In 2008, 32% of the outstanding ballots were dumped on Multnomah County Elections producing a final turnout in excess of 86%.

    Can we say GOTV?!

  • notchomsky (unverified)

    Re: "Then the question is... are progressives that vulnerable and gullible to swallow a NO ad without the balancing YES ad."

    You missed my primary point: Democrats (not progressives) approve of Obama's performance at a rate of 8 in 10, even though Obama has betrayed them at every turn. Given that, it's clear that they will continue to vote what they believe to be the "progressive" position, according to KPOJ. They will accept that what they hear is "progressive", just like they accept that Obama is "anti-war".

  • Edward I. O'Hannity (unverified)

    Gee, isn't KPOJ yet another Clear Channel station?


  • Rhys Scholes (unverified)

    In 2003 there were 362,876 registered voters in Multnomah County. Today there are 412,096. Newer, softer voters are more easily confused. We have a big voter pool. A bit of the discrepancy in turnout is attributable to this. Still, 98,8887 ballots received by the first Friday in 2003 and 82,014 as of 4 PM yesterday ...that's 16,000 people who had already voted on 28 and are still waiting to vote on 66/67 (and the GOTV is better this time.)

    If the big weekend push doesn't bring up turnout by election day we are sure to hear the "pox on both your houses" theory that negativism suppresses turnout and I bet that some of those 16,000 people feel that way.

    I think more of it is factual confusion. Canvassing last Saturday, I talked face to face with 12 voters who told me they were undecided. Several of those people would have already voted no on 28 because it would have raised their taxes. They haven't mailed their ballot in yet because they are still confused.

    Anna Griffin's Oregonian column this morning (with quotes from Adam Davis and Paul Gronke)suggests somebody should advance initiative reform (and maybe limitation) to fix this and other problems. Turning lead into gold was (and continues to be) a good idea and besides, there's a baby in that bathwater.

    What today's undecided voters need is to have conversations with people who they know and trust about these issues. No amount of changing the paper we hand them or the tv spots we show them will help them make up their minds. In Oregon, we have tried (and continue to try) a variety of organizing strategies to build the relationships that provide the opportunity for those discussions. We've always defended our right to vote on important issues and used those issues to build our organizing. But now some are wavering.

    Building civic capacity is a good answer to increasing turnout, winning elections AND raising the level of discussion. Diminishing democracy would be a bad response.

  • (Show?)


    Thanks for this one and.....Hope you have time to update us on the turnout numbers a couple of more times at least.

  • Robert Beal (unverified)
    <h2>Multnomah turnout through MLK Day, 01/18/2010, is 16% below state average (Secretary of State figures).</h2>

connect with blueoregon