The Seattle-based Elway Poll today released a postmortem on the Washington elections, comparing its polling figures from October to what actually transpired. The numbers show that—unlike the country as a whole—there were few November 8 surprises in the state.
“In contrast to the earthquake that rolled across the country last Tuesday, Washington’s election night held few surprises,” Stuart Elway wrote in a memo released today. “Of the 16 races polled, 13 were correctly anticipated.” However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t interesting nuggets in the data, few more interesting than this: Carbon Washington absolutely collapsed in late-deciding voting—that is, among people who were still undecided about the measure when last polled.
Specifically, in October, I-732 was leading by 8 points in the Elway Poll, with about 40 percent support. That by no means ensured victory, as there were plenty of undecided voters, who tend to vote against ballot measures when it comes time to cast ballots. Even still, it was a bad break for I-732: Of those undecided voters, 96 percent voted no, according to Elway numbers.The measure ended up losing by 18 points.
It’s hard to say what caused such a hard break against the carbon tax measure, since it had so much working against it. The Koch Brothers and other polluters poured money into the no campaign late in the campaign, flooding the airwaves with negative ads.
Meanwhile, it remained dogged by liberal opposition. While this paper and The Stranger both endorsed it, several liberal Stranger writers and the Seattle Times editorial board opposed it. Strange bedfellows indeed!
“It looked like the ‘yes’ side in October was within striking distance, but when the ‘no’ side spent heavily, it re-enforced voters’ inclination to vote for against things they aren’t convinced of,” Elway told Seattle Weekly. “The fact that the ‘yes’ side did not improve in those last few weeks, that’s pretty indicative that they couldn’t budge off their 40.”
Carbon Washington got some timely endorsements from Leonardo DiCaprio, James Hansen and other climate bigwigs, but it was clearly not enough to withstand the onslaught of negativity. You can read our full whodunit here.
Hit twitter for text of the Elway memo:
— Walker Orenstein (@walkerorenstein) November 15, 2016