Monday, November 07, 2005

Prognostication '05: BTE/WTE

I should be in bed, but can't resist. Let's play Better Than Expected/Worse Than Expected.


BTE: Issues 2, 3, 5 pass; Issue 4 margin less than 5%.
WTE: Issues 2, 3 close. 4 & 5 go down big.

Unless the Dispatch poll is seriously flawed, Issue 4 is a loss. At this stage in the game, more undecideds turn into no's than yes's. The complexity factor also works against us. People who enter the voting booth with having been educated on the issues are far more likely to throw up their hands and vote no than they are to parse the lengthy ballot language and vote yes.

Muni Judges

BTE: Wins for Annalisa Williams, Eve Belfance and Kathy Michael; Tavia Baxter competitive with Alison McCarty.
WTE: Only Williams wins and her race is competitive.

The Democratic candidates have run a good, smart campaign. From the lack of mailers from the Republicans, it appears they are relying on their base. And perhaps the air war, but Belfance and Michael have been competitive there as well.

Eve Belfance won Akron proper in last year's appellate court race. She needs to win going away to overcome inevitable deficits from Bath and Richfield. She should win tomorrow. Michael is dicier. Tavia is a longshot against a very able and popular incumbent, but in the current climate, anything is possible.

Muni Clerk of Courts.

BTE: Joyce Sawyer finishes within ten points of Jim Laria.
WTE: Laria by 25%+

Sawyer was never really in this race. Her yard signs are few and far between, her mailings have been sparse and the BJ endorse her primary opponent. What's more, this is a position people see more as technical than political. With people saying Laria is doing a good job, not many will vote on pure politics, even if they are doing so in the judicial races. Finally, the African American independent in the race will siphon off votes Sawyer needs.

Broader Meanings

For Progressives:

Though much has been made of the burgeoning network of conservative evangelicals, in fact a substantial network of progressive activists also grew out of the '04 election. RON is their first real test. Unfortunately. I have blogged and campaigned extensively for RON, but I admit the amendments are far from perfect. A reasonable case can be made against each, as written. They are as they are because no reform would happend in the current climate without RON, and because RON thought it the only way to ensure that the reforms could not be sabotaged by the legislature. As Warren Rudman said of the Gram-Rudman-Hollings act, it's a bad idea whose time has come.

If the RON outcome is BTE, progressives will be energized and will immediately throw themselves at their favorite primary candidates. If it comes out WTE, we may lose some of our ranks to disaffection and despair.

For Conservative Christians:

The Restoration/Reformation crowd has also put its chipstack into the RON hand. If the outcome is WTE, they will claim the credit, rightly or wrongly. If exit polls show a higher-than-expected turnout of conservative evangelicals in this, an off-year election, progressives will have to acknowledge that '04 was not a fluke, and that a permanently mobilized network of religious conservatives is undeniably a part of the political landscape.

For Bob Taft:

Taft can only lose. I see no way for him to come out of this election in any way stronger than before. Democrats are running every race as a referendum on Bob, Tom and the Culture of Corruption®. If things go BTE for Dems, it will be read as a searing indictment of Mr. 15% Approval.

If, on the other hand, everything turns out WTE for Democrats and progressives, the assigned reasons be about the merits of individual candidates/issues. That, and possibly turnout from religious conservatives. At best a draw for Taft; at worst the right wing of his party decides they don't need him any more and force him out.

Well, those are my benchmarks. It's all over but the shoutin'.