Tuesday, November 3, 2015

2015 Electoral Math

Does everyone know that tonight is election night???

Well, it is. Off-cycle elections don't have the glitz and glamour we're sure to see in next year's election, but voting for local ballot measures and local city council races probably affects your life more than who becomes president, so make sure you vote.

I dusted off my 2014 Election Model and took a crack at modeling some of the races we'll be voting on today.

There's a dearth of polling data for any of these small local races, but I did uncover enough data to examine the two statewide Washington ballot measures, as well as the measure in Ohio to legalize marijuana.

Washington Sales Tax Decrease or Two-Thirds Vote for Tax Increase, Initiative 1366

Description from ballotpedia:
This measure would decrease the state retail sales tax rate on April 15, 2016, from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent. The sales tax rate would not be decreased if, by April 15, 2016, two-thirds of both legislative houses refer to the ballot a vote on a constitutional amendment that requires two-thirds legislative approval or voter approval to raise taxes, and majority legislative approval to set the amount of a fee increase.

This measure is certainly an underdog to pass, at 18% chance, but it's certainly possible. Eighteen percent is roughly the same as the odds of correctly predicting the next roll of a single die.

Washington Animal Trafficking,  Initiative 1401

Description from ballotpedia
This measure would prohibit sale, purchase, trading, or distribution of elephant, rhinoceros, tiger, lion, leopard, cheetah, pangolin, marine turtle, shark, or ray species listed as endangered or vulnerable in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species or the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list, including items made from listed species. Violations would be a gross misdemeanor or class-C felony. It would exempt certain distributions, including musical instruments and transfers for educational purposes.

Polling on this one looks very strongly in its favor. There's not a lot of polling so the confidence interval is wide (just like every other measure), but the whoooooooole confidence interval is well north of 50%. This doesn't surprise me. I got roughly 28 flyers over the last few weeks with pictures of sad looking elephants on them captioned "Vote for me."

Ohio Marijuana Legalization, Issue 3

Description from ballotpedia:
The proposed measure specifies the legal use, cultivation and sale of marijuana in Ohio.

It is a little surprising that this is on the ballot in Ohio. Ohio isn't exactly a blue state, and medical marijuana isn't even legal there. The design of this measure has left it without the support of many legal marijuana advocates (click on the ballotpedia link for more detail) and it looks like it's headed towards a No outcome.

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