Colorado Proposition 103 prediction

[Update: Looks like I was too conservative! With 61% of the vote in, Proposition 103 is losing by 30 percent. In order to get this sort of result, there must have been a large number of Democrats opposing the measure along with almost all Republicans and a substantial majority of unaffiliated voters.]

Last night, the Colorado Secretary of State's office reported then-current voter "turnout" (in quotes since this election in Colorado is only by mail-in ballot, and there is only one state-wide issue on the ballot) with the results broken down by party affiliation.

The numbers were:

315,333 registered Republicans
251,765 registered Democrats
183,866 ballots from unaffiliated voters

In percentage terms, this means 42% of votes cast by the end of the day Monday were from Republicans, 33.5% from Democrats, and 24.5% from unaffiliated voters.

Leaving out voters registered with smaller parties such as the American Constitution Party, the Libertarian Party, or the Green Party, voter registration in the state is about 37.6% Republican, 32.6 Democrat, and 29.8% unaffiliated.

Thus, early results show a highly motivated Republican electorate, even during an election with no named candidates and only one state-wide ballot issue.

This data implies, thankfully, tough sledding for Proposition 103 and perhaps an opportunity for the Republican "dads" running in the Jefferson County school board election. I will make no prediction on the latter, but as for the former I'm going to do a little math (or let my spreadsheet do it for me) and prognosticate about Proposition 103.

As you can see in the table below, if I assume 15% Republican support for 103 (which I think may be high...I sure hope it is), 75% Democrat support for 103 (which I also think may be high) and 40% unaffiliated support (same caveat), and if voter turnout in terms of participation by party does not change, I predict 103 losing by a 59 to 41 margin.


R D U Total
Votes 315,333 251,765 183,866 750,964
% of total 42.0% 33.5% 24.5% 100.0%

125%


est % for 15% 75% 40%
est % against 85% 25% 60%





total % for 6.30% 25.14% 9.79% 41.24%
total % against 35.69% 8.38% 14.69% 58.76%




100.00%

I realize this sounds like a wildly lopsided result for a measure on which the proponents massively outspent the opponents. In fact, a recent report suggests that supporters of Proposition 103 outspent (or at least outraised) the measure's opponents by about twenty to one.

But thankfully the tax-hiking liberals were not able to manipulate the ballot or "Blue Book" description of the measure to make it sound like something it isn't. The actual ballot reads as follows...don't feel the need to read the whole paragraph; read a few lines and skip down to the rest of my commentary.

SHALL STATE TAXES BE INCREASED $536.1 MILLION ANNUALLY IN THE FIRST FULL FISCAL YEAR AND BY SUCH AMOUNTS AS ARE RAISED ANNUALLY THEREAFTER BY AMENDMENTS TO THE COLORADO REVISED STATUTES CONCERNING A TEMPORARY INCREASE IN CERTAIN STATE TAXES FOR ADDITIONAL PUBLIC EDUCATION FUNDING, AND, IN CONNECTION THEREWITH, INCREASING THE RATE OF THE STATE INCOME TAX IMPOSED ON ALL TAXPAYERS FROM 4.63% TO 5% FOR THE 2012 THROUGH 2016 INCOME TAX YEARS; INCREASING THE RATE OF THE STATE SALES AND USE TAX FROM 2.9% TO 3% FOR A PERIOD OF FIVE YEARS COMMENCING ON JANUARY 1, 2012; REQUIRING THAT THE ADDITIONAL REVENUES RESULTING FROM THESE INCREASED TAX RATES BE SPENT ONLY TO FUND PUBLIC EDUCATION FROM PRESCHOOL THROUGH TWELFTH GRADE AND PUBLIC POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION; SPECIFYING THAT THE APPROPRIATION OF THE ADDITIONAL TAX REVENUES BE IN ADDITION TO AND NOT SUBSTITUTED FOR MONEYS OTHERWISE APPROPRIATED FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION FROM PRESCHOOL THROUGH TWELFTH GRADE AND PUBLIC POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION FOR THE 2011-12 FISCAL YEAR; AND ALLOWING THE ADDITIONAL TAX REVENUES TO BE COLLECTED , KEPT, AND SPENT NOTWITHSTANDING ANY LIMITATIONS PROVIDED BY LAW?

The point is that in this economic environment, with people finally understanding the damage that govenrment overspending does to our economy and our liberty and the corrosive impact of public sector unions, few people will read past the first five or eight words. Nobody except the teachers' unions and CU employees care what the tax hike revenue is earmarked for. We all just know we are in no mood for a tax hike, especially for a bill that spends money on education without one single item of education reform built in. Again, I wouldn't be surprised if a quarter of voters will vote without even knowing that the revenue from the tax hike is earmarked for education. It just doesn't matter what you want to spend more of my money on; you can't have any more of it.

The worst case I can imagine on this vote is Prop 103 getting support from 20% of Republicans, 80% of Democrats, and 45% of unaffiliated voters, in which case it still loses by roughly 46% to 54% if the current turnout percentages hold. (One has to wonder whether the unions are collecting thousands of ballots -- or creating them in a basement somewhere -- to turn in on the last possible day, today.)

But as aggressive as it seems in political predictions, especially when the side I predict will lose has so massively outspent the other, I'm going to stick close to my earlier math and say that Colorado Proposition 103 -- a bill that only a Boulder liberal or a public sector union employee could like -- will lose by fifteen percent.

  • airbus
    Comment from: airbus
    11/01/11 @ 09:30:07 pm

    If 103 passes, it will only be because in these off year elections that have only ballot issues, there's the factor of those who aren't aware of the issue thus, those who support it are in the greater number and why they usually end up passing.

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