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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

September 17, 2012 at 9:53 AM

Ballot measures hovering around 50 percent — way too close to call

If you are looking to polling to predict whether four Washington ballot measures are likely to pass this November, the latest Elway Poll offers a giant question mark.

There’s nothing wrong with the polling. It’s just that three ballot measures — the tax limitation measure, gay marriage and marijuana legalization — all are hovering around 50 percent approval.

That’s typically not enough because, as pollster Stuart Elway says, measures that poll below 60 percent in the summer are likely to lose in the fall.

In the latest Elway Poll, both the tax limit measure, Initiative 1185, and Referendum 74, the same-sex marriage measure, had 51 percent approval; Initiative 502, the marijuana legalization proposal, had 50 percent. None of the current measures has ever been above 60 percent in an Elway Poll. Since 1992, Elway says, of 24 measures that polled below 60 percent in the summer, only 8 — a third — passed in November.

The charter school plan, Initiative 1240, was ahead in Elway’s latest poll, but not above 50 percent; it had 47 percent support.

Granted, the ad campaigns are just getting rolling now. And there is a lot of money coming at some of the ballot measures. The Elway Poll also carries a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points, which means there is considerable give in the numbers.

Elway polled 405 registered voters around the state Sept. 9-12.

Comments | More in Education, homepage, Marijuana, Politics Northwest | Topics: charter schools, Elway Poll, gay marriage

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