Today was the day I planned on doing a postmortem on Issue 6. I spent much of my blogging time last night adding up precinct numbers into ward totals and calculating the percentages.
Then today the ABJ wrote basically the same story. So, to make this interesting, I'll share a little inside information. Going into this third round of getting this levy passed, we were faced with two sets of facts: 1) The vote in traditionally friendly wards 3, 4 and 5 was down and 2) We were getting killed in South Akron.
Politicos will tell you there is a science turning 3,4 and 5 (the predominantly Afican-American inner city wards.) The politicos that tell you this with the most force are those that market their services doing so, but that's a subject for another day. Anyway, we kind of took it on faith that the campaigns would do as much of that as could be done.
What we decided to do, grassroots, parent-heavy group that we were, was find more voters across the board. We pursued, if you will, the Ten Ward Strategy.
The graphic accompanying the ABJ story unfortunately doesn't appear online, so I'll reproduce it here so we can talk about it.
As you can see, the strategy worked. The traditionally strong support in 3, 4, 5 and 8 held steady. But we closed the gap by at least a couple of points in each of the wards voting against the levy.
Not to say Next Step was the whole deal. Certainly many factors helped out. It was a Democratic year and, though we have plenty of Republican support and Dem opposition, fact is, to the extent Repub voting was down, it didn't hurt. Similarly we were hurt in May by the fact that there was no primary enticing voters in Tim Ryan's 17th District, but a heated Governor's race on the Republican side. The vote in 1, 2 and 10 were noticably off from the last levy that passed in 2000.
And of course, there was the rest of the campaign. The messaging -- tying good schools to economic development, was far crisper this time. They cut and aired some excellent ads on that theme featuring area businessmen. The campaign overall had better organization, more participation from staff and parents, and far more participation from students.
Also, people just generally got the message that the situation really was serious. Some events over the summer did not break in our favor, which worried me, but overall the Board of Ed. kept sounding the theme that, no really, we need the money.
It's impossible to tell where one factor left off and the other took up. But I was extremely proud in the work my friends in Next Step did to make the campaign more grassroots.
I did want to test my impression that the win was more a matter of closing the gap in the losing areas than boosting turnout in the friendly wards. At this point in the process, turnout numbers are suspect, as I was recently and embarassingly reminded. So instead, I calculated for each ward, the percentage that ward represents of the total "yes" vote. This is a Blogger table, so stand by for annoying white space.