You’re gonna be hearing a lot over the next few days about the new Elway Poll that just came out, focusing on this November’s $17.8 billion Roads & Transit measure (shorter Elway: it’s damn close,) and I’ll be adding my own spin to the cycle as soon as I’ve had time to digest the numbers. But I wanted to quickly comment on another survey Elway summarizes, almost as an afterthought: that showing that when it comes to making the Director of Elections an elected office, voters aren’t nearly as enthusiastic as most of us assumed.
According to Elway only 45% of respondents favored an elected director, with 26% opposed and 29% undecided. No doubt proponents would rather have those numbers than the other way around, but it is never a comfortable position to have your measure under 50% this close to an election. It’s a small sample with a relatively high 6.4% margin of error, but dollars to donuts these numbers are raising a few eyebrows.
While I firmly believe the proposed charter amendment is politically motivated bad policy, pure and simple, I never thought there was much of a chance of defeating it at the polls. I could write essays refuting the opponents’ arguments… but arguing the facts is rarely a winning strategy, and I’ve publicly despaired the rhetorical challenge of convincing voters that “more democracy” can be a bad thing.
But perhaps voters don’t need all that much convincing? What the Elway Poll tells us is that voters are sufficiently skeptical of the measure that an adequately funded and competently crafted “No” campaign would stand a good chance of defeating it at the polls. Of course, there is no “No” campaign, and I can’t think of an organization with both the financial resources and the financial stake to fight one.
But if there was, they could win.