[Updated] E+1 — Gov, R-74, SoS[, I-1240]

Wednesday’s tabulations have arrived, spreadsheets have been filled in, and I’ve got quick updates on three of Washington’s statewide races. Here’s the executive summary:

  • Governor — not much has changed. Jay remains in the lead, but Rob still has a chance. Maybe even a slightly greater chance than he did after Tuesday’s count.
  • Referendum 74Approved stretches its lead. I think the marriage-equality supporters have every right to claim victory.
  • Secretary of State — Wyman tiptoes a bit farther ahead, but it’s still much too close to call

New ballot counts were reported by 19 counties on Wednesday. The 228,253 newly-recorded votes constituted less than 12% of Tuesday’s count of 1,947,063. My assumption is that Wednesday was mostly finishing up the backlog of ballots processed before the deadline, and that the first late-arriving ballots won’t be tabulated until Thursday’s report. With nearly 750K uncounted ballots on hand, the estimated turnout jumped from 65.7% to 74.8% (it’ll go appreciably higher before we’re finished.

Inslee led McKenna 51.3% to 48.7% on Tuesday night, with a predicted final tally of 51.2% to 48.8%. He didn’t do nearly as well on Wednesday; in fact, McKenna picked up slightly more than half (50.4%) of the day’s count. Inslee’s percentage in King County came to just under 60%, well below Tuesday’s 63%. With the small number of new ballots, though, the cumulative statewide numbers are just about the same as on Tuesday — actually 51.1% to 48.9% (a bit worse than on Tuesday), predicted 51.3% to 48.7% (a bit better than on Tuesday). The seeming contradiction arises from the nonuniform distribution of new votes by county.

Approval of R-74 had 51.8% of the Tuesday vote, to 48.2% Reject. My estimate at that time was a final 51.7% to 48.3% tally. It got better on Wednesday, as 53.4% of the new ballots were for Approve. Approve did better on Wednesday than on Tuesday in 17 of the day’s 19 counties; only Lincoln and Spokane Counties bucked the trend. The Approve rate on Wednesday’s King County ballots (67.6%) was more than two percent higher than Tuesday’s (65.5%). Through Wednesday, Approve’s cumulative percentage was 52.0% and its estimated final result was 52.1%. It’s all but certain that Washington will join Maine and Maryland on the right side of the argument.

Wednesday’s new ballots reaffirmed the tightness of the battle to replace Sam Reed as Secretary of State. After the first day’s count, Republican Kim Wyman led Kathleen Drew by less than one point, 50.4% to 49.6%. At that time, my predicted final tally was identical to the actual percentages. Wyman’s margin among Wednesday’s new ballots (52.7% to 47.3%) was appreciably higher than Tuesday’s, and her Wednesday percentage exceeded Tuesday’s in 13 of the 19 counties. While my estimated outcome didn’t change with the addition of Wednesday’s ballots, Wyman’s actual percentage rose to 50.6% to Drew’s 49.4%. This race remains basically deadlocked. I must say, though, that if Wyman were the Auditor of any county other than Thurston, she would be trailing. Normally reliably Democratic, Thurston favors its Republican favorite daughter 59.0% to 41.0%.

I anticipate a larger number of newly tabulated ballots in Thursday’s count, as many counties start tallying ballots that hadn’t been been sitting in the county offices, waiting for the official poll-closing at 8pm. We will likely have a much clearer picture of the gubernatorial race, and perhaps also of the SoS outcome. And I’ll be here, peering at my spreadsheets and analyzing what’s going on.

[UPDATE] (1:30pm)]

In comment #1, Moderate Man asked why I wasn’t looking at I-1240, the initiative in which Bill Gates and friends are pushing privatizing education charter schools. I had no good answer to the question (see comment #7), so I went back and built a spreadsheet to examine it.

On Tuesday, Yes on I-1240 was leading 51.2% to 48.8%. My estimation method put the “final” tally at 51.4% to 48.6%. In Wednesday’s returns, Yes was ever-so-slightly ahead, garnering 72 votes more than No among the 216,702 recorded votes (to one decimal place, that’s a 50-50 dead heat). At 51.1% to 48.9%, the cumulative result was identical to my interim estimate.

I’ll include I-1240 as this series continues. Even if the bigots opponents of R-74 have conceded, I’ll still report on that race for at least one more day.


  1. 1

    Moderate Man spews:

    Thanks so much – very helpful!

    A question – 1240 seems to be similarly tight but is not part of your analysis. Are you thinking it is a clear winner?

  2. 2

    Skykomishone spews:

    When you say McKenna still has a chance, what does that mean, like a snowball in hell?, or something approaching a real probability?

  3. 3


    Two questions about Inslee:

    1. Has anyone read his book? Any comments if so?

    2. If Inslee, who in the campaign said he was opposed to higher taxation, is effectively precluded from changing his mind because of the just-passed initiative, how much effective difference would there be between him and McKenna?

  4. 4

    ScrawnyKayaker spews:

    @3 Like most Eyman initiatives, I-1185 will be mooted by a court challenge, since it contradicts the state constitution.

  5. 5

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    McKenna is a republican. He opposed Obamacare remember? He opposed Marrige Equality. McKenna has opposed the legalization of marijuana. McKenna reiterated support for not allowing tax increases unless a two-thirds majority approves them. Inslee called this stance a subversion of the democratic process.

  6. 6

    Ekim spews:

    3. Dr. Bob spews:

    Two questions about Inslee:

    1. Has anyone read his book? Any comments if so?

    2. If Inslee, who in the campaign said he was opposed to higher taxation, is effectively precluded from changing his mind because of the just-passed initiative, how much effective difference would there be between him and McKenna?

    1) No, I’m too busy trying to dig out of the Bush caused 2008 Depression to have that much leisure.

    2) If there is no difference why bother to vote for Little Bobbie?

  7. 7



    I-1240 slipped under my radar. In the avalanche of news and numbers, I completely missed its surprising closeness. Guess I assumed that Bill Gates was as good at buying himself an initiative as Jim Sinegal was. I’ll look into adding it to my evaluation … I think I captured the full set of Tuesday numbers, but if I didn’t then a 1240 analysis would have to start with Wednesday.


    I say McKenna still has a chance because the Wednesday results didn’t go as I’d expected … he actually crept a tad closer. As I said in the first of these essays, in recent years the trend has been for increasingly Democratic results as later ballots are processed. Since Rob’s people spun it the other way (that their percentages will rise over time), I’m allowing for the possibility that they might actually know something.


    Please get on-topic. Any additional pathetic attempts to deflect away from the ass-kicking your guys took will be deleted (at least, in my election-numbers posts).


    See my comment to @3. And don’t feed the trolls.

  8. 8

    RonK spews:

    N — What ever happened to Barreto’s special sauce? A projection doesn’t count for much if it’s published after the final count.

  9. 9

    Richard Pope spews:

    If McKenna still has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning, all hope is not yet lost for him:

    Comet Lovejoy Plunges into the Sun and Survives

    Dec. 16, 2011: This morning, an armada of spacecraft witnessed something that many experts thought impossible. Comet Lovejoy flew through the hot atmosphere of the sun and emerged intact.

    “It’s absolutely astounding,” says Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab in Washington DC. “I did not think the comet’s icy core was big enough to survive plunging through the several million degree solar corona for close to an hour, but Comet Lovejoy is still with us.”

  10. 10

    Richard Pope spews:

    I think the later ballots get strongly influenced by newspaper endorsements. For example, nearly every newspaper endorsed R-74, so the share of R-74 votes increased in yesterday’s count. Likewise, nearly every newspaper endorsed McKenna, and his count increased too. Probably not enough to save McKenna, but it should make this race get a bit closer.

  11. 11

    Ekim spews:

    @7, Sorry N, I do love my troll baiting. I’ll try to be good.

    More to the point, I heard from Bobbie’s own camp that KC needs break at least 40% for him to have a chance at a win and currently he is at 37.31%. So if he doesn’t get around 45% of the remaining ballots, he’s done.

  12. 12

    Ekim spews:

    Richard @10,
    Interesting hypothesis, but not enough data to support it.
    I’d put more weight on the different mind sets of early voters vs late voters.

  13. 13



    I agree. As I mentioned in the essay, on Wednesday McKenna exceeded 40% in King County … barely. Continuing to take 40.6%, which was his Wednesday take, ain’t gonna cut it for Rob.

  14. 16

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    The breaking news email I just got from MyNorthwest.com(KIRO Radio) just said little change in the latest count.

  15. 17

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    If the King Co Elections site refreshed at 8:30 PM, the Boobie McKenna is in trouble. Currently pulling 37.79% of the ballots. Little Boobie’s own staff was calling for 40% in King County to be competitive.


  16. 18

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The SoS’s latest update 15 minutes ago has Robbie trailing Jay by 54,000+. That one’s over.

    Meanwhile, Drew trails Wyman by 32,499 votes. Here’s how Drew might win.

    King County issued 1,182,930 ballots, received 932,985, and has counted 723,283. That means 209,702 remain to be counted.

    To date, Drew has 60.82% and Wyman has 39.09% in King County (doesn’t add to 100% because of write-ins), broken down as follows:

    Drew: 402,224
    Wyman: 258,546
    Write-ins: 601
    Total: 661,371

    This means there are 61,912 “undervotes” (i.e., ballots with no vote for an SoS candidate), or 8.56% of the counted ballots. Multiplying that by 209,702 uncounted ballots gives us an estimate of 17,950 “undervotes” in the remaining ballots. Subtract that from 209,702 and we have 191,752 estimated uncounted votes for Sos in King County.

    Now multiply 191,752 by 60.82% and 39.09% respectively, and we can estimate that Drew will get 116,624 and Wyman will get 74,956 more votes from King County.

    Add that to tonight’s totals on Sam Reed’s website and, if no more votes come in from other counties, we end up with a final tabulation that looks approximately like this:

    Drew – 1,245,806
    Wyman – 1,236,637

    That’s a difference of 0.36%, which appears to be within automatic recount range, but this isn’t like the razor-thin margin in the 2004 governor’s race; it’s a nearly 9,000 vote difference that should hold up in a recount.

    Now, keep in mind this is Rabbit Math, not official numbers, so things could go awry with this calculation. But it looks to me like it’s possible — I’m only saying possible — tha Drew could overtake Wyman in King County’s remaining ballots.