Across the country this November voters will be deciding the fate of about 173 state ballot measures. Many of these measures deal with relatively minor issues, like an amendment to correct a constitutional mistake relating to the oath of office requirement in North Dakota. Several of the measures could result in important policy changes in their respective states, but the impact will be almost exclusively local.
|By: Jon Walker Wednesday September 26, 2012 11:02 am|
|By: Jon Walker Tuesday August 14, 2012 10:20 am|
The lack of any big high profile elections in the Washington State primary last week meant it was mostly ignored by the media, but it could prove to be incredibly interesting as a predictor for the general election. If past trends hold, it would indicate that down ballot Democratic prospects in the upcoming election have significantly improved since 2010.
|By: Jon Walker Friday June 10, 2011 1:10 pm|
With 53 Congressional districts, over 12 percent of the entire chamber, California is by far the most important prize in redistricting. In the past the state legislature controlled the redistricting process and the result was heavy partisan gerrymandering producing mostly safe seats and almost no competitive ones. This 2012 will see a change in that.
|By: Jon Walker Thursday May 19, 2011 7:57 am|
The supposed logic behind the switch to the top-two primary was to get all candidates to run their campaigns, from the start, directed at everyone in the district across the political spectrum, instead of first catering to the small group of primary voters in each party. So, the candidates are basically already running what we would consider big, expensive, general-election-style campaigns for the “primary,” and they will need to sustain this big, general-election-style campaign for the months until the runoff election.
|By: Jon Walker Monday November 29, 2010 7:25 am|
The Washington primary can serve as a useful predictor on a macro level. Partisan swings in the Washington primary vote closely mirrored the national Congressional swings we saw in November.
|By: Jon Walker Thursday August 26, 2010 5:05 pm|
I’ve previously posted on my research showing a very high correlation between the results in Washington State’s “top two” primary and the results in the general election. The system makes the “primary” more like the first round of the general election in a traditional runoff election system. Washington has a history of very high primary turnout–this year it was 40.63 percent–and because of the previous use of the “blanket primary,” voting for members of both parties in the primary was common. Assuming this correlation holds up this year, my analysis points to an extremely bad November for Democrats.
|By: Jon Walker Friday August 20, 2010 6:06 am|
The “top two primary” system now used in Washington and to be used in California starting in 2012 is not like a traditional primary, where people vote to select a nominee for each party. Since the top two primary system is much more like a general election than a traditional primary, the question is can the vote in these “top two primary” states serve as a good predictor for what will happen nationwide in November.
|By: Jon Walker Tuesday August 17, 2010 7:30 pm|
Today features primary elections in Washington state and Wyoming. The races to watch tonight will be both parties’ primaries for governor in Wyoming, the Senate primary in Washington state, and the primary in Washington’s 3rd Congressional district. Read this preview for more information at the races.
|By: Jon Walker Tuesday August 17, 2010 1:25 pm|
Today is primary day in Washington and Wyoming. Both states’ races include important statewide elections.
|By: Jon Walker Wednesday June 9, 2010 8:45 am|
On June 8, California voters turned down campaign-finance reform but embraced an unusual new primary system. The results last night were a mixed bag. The biggest disappointment is that Prop. 15, a small step toward public financing of elections in California, failed by a wide margin. It looks like the corrupting influence of big money in politics will continue for a long time in the state. In retrospect, it was probably a bad decision to put Prop. 15 on the primary ballot when the big races were on the Republican side, with no major Democratic statewide races.
The lack of movement toward public financing of elections is even more disappointing because elections are likely to get more expensive in California, thanks to the passage of Prop. 14. The primary voters yesterday voted to make this the last “primary” as we know it. The so-called top-two primary ballot measure passed by a wide margin. This means all candidates will run in the same “primary” and the top two vote getters, regardless of party, will advance to the general. In effect, this moves the general election to June, with a runoff election months later in November. This eliminates the ability of parties to select their nominee for the general election and makes it unlikely any third-party candidates will be on the November ballot. The official description of Prop. 14 was very misleading. Voters in several districts may not realize what they signed up for when they face a choice between just two Democrats or two Republicans in general elections.
The good news is that Prop. 16, a disgusting power grab by power company PG&E, appears to have lost. The proposition would have made it much more difficult for local entities to create new utilities to compete with the power giant. PG&E spent millions on the ballot measure but the people of California rejected this naked attempt to use the initiative system to protect a corporation’s profits.
The California Chamber of Commerce backed Props. 14 and 16, while opposing Prop. 15. The corporatists won a few last night but it was not a clean sweep. I hope the voters of California enjoy the huge campaign spending by Meg Whitman, because without public financing of elections and with a new “primary” system that will likely make running for office even more expensive, it is a sign of things to come.