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WA: Tales of two issues

We’ll make that recurring pitch again: Washington, do what Oregon does and require that ballots be at the courthouse on election day, not merely postmarked. You’d save a lot of blood pressure that way, among other things.

Indications so far are that Washington voters (1) decisively are rejecting the severe tax and budget restrictions in Tim Eyman‘s Initiative 1033, and (2) narrowly are upholding the legislature’s “everything but marriage” law (Referendum 71) on same-sex domestic partnerships.

If the second one holds – and the results at about 51%-49% thus far, with lots of ballots still out, are not certain – it makes for a pretty clear benchmark on the whole subject of gay marriage. Maine voters appear to have, fairly narrowly, rejected gay marriage there. In 2009, “everything but marriage” is about where that subject has migrated to in terms of electoral acceptability, quite a shift from just a few cycles ago. (The Oregonians looking to put gay marriage on the ballot in 2012 may be calling it just about right for a 52% or so win that year, if the trends of the last decade continue.)

r71

green yes, yellow no

That said, whatever the upshot, R-71 does look to be on the social cutting edge. Look at the map (from the secretary of state’s office): R-71 won only around the Puget Sound, and not everywhere even there (the late Pierce County votes, where the measure was losing, could be the element that yet defeats it). If it wins, a huge margin in King County will be the reason.

Tim Eyman, on the other hand, will need some creative spin to explain the loss of Initiative 1033, the latest of his tax/budget measures to crash and burn. The loss was not overwhelming; at present it was losing 44.5%-55.5%. But it seems decisive enough. Compare the I-1033 map below to the R-71 map above (remembering that to track the conservative/liberal sides, you need to reverse the yellows and greens).

i1033

green yes, yellow no

Admitting here to a little puzzlement over some of the conservative Republican eastern counties voting no – Yakima? Columbia? Whitman? The explanations from those places should be fascinating – the overall picture nonetheless looks a lot different from R-71. Eyman pointed out tonight that he was outspent; but so what? The point of the initiative was clear enough, and it wasn’t accepted.

How long will Eyman keep on doing this? Is the point coming when his initiatives start getting commonly regarded simply as exercises in futility?

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