Friday, November 09, 2012

2012 Analysis: Ballot Propositions

All six 2012 Michigan ballot propositions failed.  Most of them weren't even close.  Here are the numbers.

Michigan ballot issues and judicial races

1. No 52% (emergency managers)
2. No 58% (collective bargaining)
3. No 63% (energy mandate)
4. No 57% (SEIU forced unionization)
5. No 69% (2/3 to raise taxes)
6. No 60% (Detroit/Canada bridge)

The "Vote NO on everything" campaign was very effective.  The message was that special interests were trying to hijack Michigan's constitution.

Newspaper endorsements were also helpful. They don't change many votes in partisan races, but they can make a big difference when people don't know what a proposal is really about. The Detroit News, Free Press, and Mlive papers all endorsed yes on 1, no on the rest.

Proposal 1 came close due to newspaper endorsements and support from the Governor.  The weaker emergency financial managers will return (though there may be lawsuits on that point).  The legislature can always pass a new emergency manager law.

Michigan isn't all that into unions anymore.  The unions put everything into proposal 2 and got destroyed.  The Chamber of Commerce did great work on this issue.  It was slightly disappointing that they chose to focus on the issue of background checks in schools rather than the main issue--whether government employee unions should be able to override laws in their contracts.  Still, given how the unions were trying to trick people, I suppose they had to go with whatever issue was most effective, even if it was somewhat tangential.

Proposal 4 was SEIU's last-ditch effort to save its ripoff of home healthcare workers.  Now that it failed, the end of this scam is finally in sight.

The failure of proposals 2 and 4 has raised some talk of passing a Right to Work bill.  Realistically, this is only going to happen if the Chamber of Commerce is willing to spend 50+ million defending it.  It would have to be put in the Constitution, since the unions would either force a referendum or try to pass another constitutional amendment stopping it.  Perhaps proposals 2 and 4 will inspire Michigan's business leaders to actually make it happen.

Proposal 3 was funded by California environmentalists and "green" corporations seeking handouts.  Thankfully, the (monopoly) energy companies were willing to spend a lot to defend their profits and keep rates down for consumers.

Proposal 6 was Matty Moroun's effort to prevent government competition for his privately-owned bridge.  The bridge would be primarily funded by a loan from Canada paid back by tolls.  Moroun argued (persuasively) that the bridge would not be entirely free, though.  Some supporters of the new bridge on both sides of the border seemed hostile to private ownership of bridges.  Ultimately, Moroun's campaign was ineffective.

Proposal 5 seemed to get lost in the shuffle.  The yes campaign wasn't very visible.  All the special interests that want to raise taxes came out against it, along with many politicians and most newspapers.  Support started at 68% in one poll, but dropped like a rock.  Conservatives were mostly focused elsewhere.

Once again, special interests tried to hijack Michigan's Constitution, and once again they failed.  Past attempts were
No matter how much they spend, if every newspaper and the majority of politicians come out against a ballot proposal as a special interest power grab, it isn't going to pass.  Will special interests finally get the message and stop trying to hijack Michigan's Constitution?

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