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A call for punditry! How will Prop 1 fare?

by: Grebner

Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 10:27:16 AM EDT

Instead of waiting until the results are in, I challenge all good ML prognosticators to make known their predictions in advance.  

You can cast an anonymous vote in the poll, but the intrepid will join me in the comments section, where your guess will be preserved eternally, to your credit or shame, depending on the event. 

Grebner :: A call for punditry! How will Prop 1 fare?

Prop 1 is an interesting technical challenge to guess.  As I've said many times, conventional polling is worthless for predicting how the public will vote, due to the difference between what people tell strangers who ask over the phone, versus what the same voters choose when alone in the booth.

On one side is a $7 million advertising onslaught, endorsements from virtually every prominent public official, and quite a bit of editorial support.  On the other side is the reality that the proposal is vague, incoherent, and smells bad.

It would be a perfect opportunity to apply the polling technique I call "straw balloting" which allows randomly chosen voters to complete a realistic ballot, which they submit anonymously.  But nobody has asked, and I haven't run a study on my own.  So we're left to guess. 

UPDATE - August 11, 2014 - The results are in, and most of us were badly wrong. According to the Secretary of State, there were 865,042 YES votes to 383,415 NO, or 69.3%.  

As I have always argued, conventional polling proved useless in predicting the outcome, but so was convening an online discussion here on ML.  

As Charles Babbage once said, more or less, however many mistakes you may make because of insufficient data, you're still a lot better off than if you have no data at all.  

I think we could have figured this out by polling absentee voters, immediately after they had returned their ballots, since they would have just finished wrestling with the ballot language and gone through the process of deciding how to react to it.  That wouldn't have cost much, since it could have been done as a robo-poll.  Next time for sure.


Prop 1 - guess the YES percentage


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Grebner guesses Prop 1 fails
I have nothing on which to base my guess, except that I don't know anybody who's supporting it, beyond those whose support was part of a legislative deal. Every liberal I know is opposing it, plus a scattering of cranky right-wingers.

Maybe there will be enough people voting who just reflect the advertising and endorsements, but that's not my guess.

All the rest of you hot-shots!  Into the pool!

Whatever the case, it probably won't be close
Ballot proposals are rarely close - Prop 1 in 2012 and Prop 2 in 2008 being the only recent exceptions I can think of.

Anyway, I say the "yes" vote comes in around (e^pi)*1.607 percent - about 37.2%.

Now on Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott: Cotter vs. Jesus and Reagan

What is this?
(e^pi)*1.607 percent?  

[ Parent ]
Google it
When you enter an equation on Google, it'll give you the answer.

Nifty, eh?

BTW, I was right about it not being close.

Now on Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott: Cotter vs. Jesus and Reagan

[ Parent ]
Under 45%
Our household has received a lot of mail in favor of Prop 1 and none against.  I had not discussed the proposal with the other two voters in the house but each read the mail and decided to vote 'no.'

One wild card in guessing the outcome is that this is a primary with nothing happening statewide and little or nothing happening at all in many places.  There are reasons for Dems to vote in Southfield; there are reasons for Republicans to vote in Midland.  There is no reason for a voter in either party to vote in much of Eaton County, for example.  The turnout will not reflect the political composition of the state as a whole unless by accident.

I'll give it a 45% yes vote. That's my high end. I'm hearing a lot of noisy "no" votes but the "yes" machine may sway some voters.  

I still don't know how *I'm* going to vote on the freaking thing...
I have no business predicting anything else about it.

It is essentially a hostage situation. We are being exhorted -- by Mark Schauer even, in a call I just got -- to vote yes to protect essential municipal services. Protect them from what? From the crazy Republican legislature, which is putatively loony enough to ax the PPT in lame duck even if Prop 1 fails. What do they care if River Rouge et al go bankrupt? Only Democrats live in places like that.

So all the cool kids are telling me to vote yes to a proposal the blows a multi-100-million-$ hole in the general fund budget, to be mended by... what? Yet more cuts to higher ed? Another round of tax increases on the middle class and poor, to pay for yet another business tax cut?

I may live to regret it, but I don't respond well to blackmail.

(Sigh) After all that, I'm going to disagree with Scott above...
and go with 46% yes.

[ Parent ]
Revenue replacement
The claim that they're making is that the revenue is replaced by ending certain corporate tax breaks, which Harris discussed here.

Seems to me the two main arguments are (a) it'll create jobs and (b) "all the cool kids" are supporting it, as you say.

Obviously tax cuts for businesses don't do a darn thing to help the economy. Let's not pretend for one moment that any money saved on taxes would actually go toward increasing salaries or hiring more workers. It hasn't - and it won't. Demand creates jobs - not tax hikes.

As to the second point: Just because I want Gary Peters and Mark Schauer to win on November 4, doesn't mean I have to agree with them on everything - or that they have to agree with me on everything. Respectful disagreement is okay.

As a general rule, if the thrust of your argument is that Person A supports your cause, don't expect me to just jump in and join you. Unless Person A is Jesus himself.

Now on Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott: Cotter vs. Jesus and Reagan

[ Parent ]
Demand creates jobs - not tax CUTS.

Now on Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott: Cotter vs. Jesus and Reagan

[ Parent ]
I almost consider Gretchen Whitmer close to Jesus
But I'm still not going voting for Prop 1.  There's something that they know that they're not saying.  Probably a done deal to do away with PPT during lame duck.  

[ Parent ]
Prop 1 goes down
Voter confusion spells defeat. Make the margin 60-40.

Can I be a pundit now?

You ARE a pundit.
As soon as you make a prediction, you're dabbling in our dark art.  

Next, maybe you'll obtain some followers, and mistique.  Perhaps someday a harem.

[ Parent ]
I think it's going to be close
46-49 in favor. I think it's going to go down because it's confusing and because I think a lot of people are in a place where if every politician supports something they tend to be against it.

Hard to tell on primary election day.

Among the Trees

LOL -- herd behavior!
Before I taught at WMU, I taught for ten years in high school -- Earth Science and Astronomy. The point is, I would have four sections (some years) of Earth Science -- an ideal situation for performing certain kinds of experiments.

So a number of years, in a certain lesson plan I would ask students for a numerical estimate. It doesn't matter what of, how much a mountain weighs, or how far you must walk to get to Pluto if the Earth were the size of a peppercorn. Anything that could not be easily calculated on the spur of the moment.

One student would need to be first to answer. The others would follow, and I noticed that their answers varied from the first answer, but never by that much. As we went through the class, my impression was the answers more and more converged on a consensus -- based on very little that was real.

I actually recorded all the answers several years. The variance between class sections was many times larger than the variance within one section. Then I asked another similar question a few weeks later, only I had students write their answers on a slip of paper. Then the between-section and within-section variances were not significantly different.

So the estimates here on Prop 1 so far are 'fails', 37, 'under 45', 45, 46, 40, 46. I think I detect herd behavior (including myself in that).

There's wisdom in herds.
Not much, but some.  Mainly the wisdom of escaping predation.

In punditry, the glory goes to the person who breaks free and asserts a new and contrary doctrine that proves correct.

[ Parent ]
I'm going with Prop 1 goes down but by a narrow margin. 47% Yes, 53% No. I'm also guessing that 15% of the voters simply skip that section because they are too confused and/or don't care about it. 

Do stupid people know they are stupid?

I don't think many people will skip it.
After the election, I'll post an update here with the actual numbers. That may be difficult to calculate, because some counties don't report the total turnout ("pollbook") counts.  But I'll calculate it based on counties with provide it, extrapolating to the others using gubernatorial and/or U.S. Senate turnouts.

For now, I'd just suggest people who vote in a primary are screened for interest in politics and relatively sophisticated opinions.  The people who simply vote straight party and go home are general election voters.

My guess: the votes cast for or against Prop 1 will be 93% of the total turnout.  

[ Parent ]
A wager, then?
"Winner" buys a small cone at the Twist? :)

Do stupid people know they are stupid?

[ Parent ]
Yes! An illegal wager!
Michigan election law specifically outlaws betting on elections, so I'd be happy to do so.

[ Parent ]
Now I've achieved my goal - I can never run for political office because I've bet on an election.  That's going to be the best $1 (or so) I spent this decade (because you'll win, clearly). 

Do stupid people know they are stupid?

[ Parent ]
Powers to the People!
Powers to the People is a slogan that cannot go unused. Run, Julie, Run! :-)

Now on Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott: Cotter vs. Jesus and Reagan

[ Parent ]
Whoever is closer wins.
That is, if 89% or fewer of all ballots include Prop 1 votes, you win.  If more than 89%, I do.

[ Parent ]
The results are in!
According to Alan Fox - whose numbers are always at least one digit more accurate than anything I compile myself - there were 1.326 million voters, of whom 1.245 voted on Prop 1.

That means the dropoff was 6%.  In Wayne County, where dropoff is generally higher than elsewhere, the dropoff reached 11%.  That figure may be slightly inflated by the problems regarding absentee ballots in Dearborn Heights, which may not have been included in the results posted by the Secretary of State.

My dog, Scout, wants a doggy-dish of soft-serve, garnished with miniature dog biscuits.

[ Parent ]
I think it's going down
I'm thinking it's going to be around what a couple of others are saying - say 35% for 65% against mainly because of the confusion about what it's going to do, the oversell by the backers, and voters lack of trust of the legislature.  

I think it passes
With 55-60%.  No organized no campaign, and the language is vague but will likely reasonable to uninformed voters..."help small businesses grow and create jobs..." "increase portion of state use tax dedicated for aid to local school districts..." "prohibit total use tax rate from exceeding existing 6% constitutional limitation..."

Sounds like we'll get more jobs, with lower taxes, and more money for schools!

We'll see....
Actually, it's exactly the language you cite that makes me think it's in trouble.  Vague, reassuring, blather.  

When a conversation involves money, anybody but a fool becomes worried when the person you're talking to wants something from you, but won't say exactly what it is. It's the whole used-car, life insurance, "can't miss" investment, multi-level-marketing shtick.

I'm betting voters aren't as dumb as you think they are.  Maybe you're right - we'll see tomorrow night.

[ Parent ]
That's my take
The ballot language sounds like it was written by politicians...because it was! When you read the remainder of the proposal, it doesn't fit with the intro which will make many people skeptical.  

[ Parent ]
Guess it passes
I already voted against it and have no idea how to predict the outcome except that there's no money up against it and the Big Boys have put serious cash on the board for it.  But I have only found one person who I know personally who says he is voting for it.  He's got to say that because he works for people who support it. But I wonder if even he will pull the yes lever tomorrow.

If it does go down the fear and loathing factor in Lansing moves up several notches.    

Changing my prediction
Just got off the phone with my sister who is one of the least political people I know and my bellwether for the mythical average voter.  I asked her how she was voting on Proposal 1 and she said, "probably no."  Asked her why.  Her response:  "I have to pay taxes why shouldn't they?  Just because they're a business?  That doesn't make any sense.  And they say they're going to create 15,000 jobs. That's bullshit.  They don't say how.  There's no details.  They'll just keep the money themselves like they always do."

So now I'm saying based on that this thing is going down.  

[ Parent ]
So far I am the only one to vote in that percentage range.
My reasoning is that since there has been no television
promotions saying "no" to Prop 1, once the voter gets into the booth and actually reads the gobbledegook, they will just shrug and vote "yes" because they haven't heard anything to the negative.

The default setting is no
FC: I disagree with you. I think if someone reads it for the first time and is confused, they will vote no.

[ Parent ]
I hope you're right
I really, really do.
I've already cast my no vote, but I think I'm in the minority in my county. I live in a poor, rural area where a lot of folks have small, home based businesses, heavily taxed, and I'm quite sure they will vote for what they believe will be lower taxes.  

[ Parent ]
I think this fails pretty handily.  It's weird, because months ago, I was actually a Yes vote on this.  I'd always thought this was a bad tax, and while I'm not big on tax cuts, this is one I'd always wanted to see phased out and made up elsewhere.  In fact, the day after the 2010 midterm I wrote my state senator with an idea that she should bring this up as a way of perhaps putting the new Republican majorities on record and trying to out-manuever them so they wouldn't come asking for more tax cuts, later.  If they did, we could tell the voters we'd already gotten rid of tax cuts.

But, literally within the last few weeks, I've turned into a pretty strong No vote.  This is one of the very few times where the media actually helped me in my decision making.  I have very strong concerns, now, about the replacement money.  My community wouldn't be hit particularly hard if the replacement didn't come through as planned, but there are some industrial communities across this state whose general funds would be absolutely devasted.  You'd have dozens of communities in emergency management.

Had Snyder not pushed for corporate tax cut, and then the raiding of money for the school and the tak hike on seniors, I might have been able to support this.  But, it's really hard for anyone to argue, now, that big businesses are burdened in this state.  And, for that reason, my natural skepticism towards tax cuts wins out unless I can be convinced otherwise.  Quite frankly, the GOP f%cked this up with their insatiable thirst for all other kinds of tax cuts.  As a labor Dem, I wish this had been done before anything else to helped manufacturing, but the MI GOP really muddled this.

And, when I found out about the money behind the Yes campaign, I got really skeptical.  The whole thing seems unsavory and smacks of trying WAY too hard.  It's way too in-your-face, and that's a sure way to turn off voters.  You know, the political class is entitled to their opinion, but they support it because it's easy for them to support.  I feel really icky being on the same side as Jim Fouts on something, but so be it. lol

I'd have guessed this would pass with upwards of 60% even just last month, but there seems to have been a major shift on the ground in the last few weeks.  I think a lot of other people were like me, and that was soft support because we didn't really see any overwhelming reason to oppose it, but when offered fairly simple reasons to oppose it, second-guessed our soft support.

Big Business can go and pimp Snyder, elsewhere.  We're done with all of them.  You rollback the pension tax and stop raiding school funding and maybe we can talk.  Until then, take a hike.

[ Parent ]
I also believe Proposal 1 will go down to defeat. Local municipalities are for it of course, because otherwise the Legislature will muck with their revenue-stream again.

It's like the scene where the sheriff holds the gun to his head in Blazing Saddles. City managers look on in horror as the Legislature holds the gun to its head saying "vote for this, so we don't have to shoot ourselves in the lame duck session."

City managers are gun-shy because revenue sharing has been reduced and/or eliminated over the last few years. Everyone went through the painful EVIP process, and now legislation may be introduced to remove TIFs and Brownfield funding, ect. It's very much an issue of the Devil you know versus the Devil you don't know. So, you want to take municipal endorsement with a grain of salt.

Sounds right
I bet the Dems in Lansing have been told that the Republicans will pass a PPT repeal in lame duck without 100% revenue replacement if Proposal 1 fails so they're holding their noses and pimping this. That's why a lot of local community leaders are on board too. They'll take something when they can't trust the Republicans to give them anything.  

[ Parent ]
As of 11:30
If you assign a value of 35% to 0%-40%, 65% to 60%-100%, and take the midpoints of the other intervals, and construct a weighted average, the 'ML herd' is at 47%. So that is our group prediction.

Michigan voted 'no' for the emergency manager law; so what?
This one will end up as a fairly solid No vote; just like the EM law. The usual suspects will ignore the vote, pass the tax cut anyways, and the courts will back them up.

I'm sure we can pay for this, with just a little tweak to teacher pensions and healthcare, maybe a little jump in fees and fines...Gotta balance that budget!

If I voted "Yes"
This would be one of the reasons. Snyder and company in Lansing have made it clear that they don't consider themselves bound by the wishes of the voters.  

Does anybody like it?
Voted no a few weeks back.

I say 33% in favor.

We haven't run into anybody except people PAID to like it.
I'm wondering if there's a core of support among conservatives and Republicans.  Since Republicans voting today will probably outnumber Dems about 700,000 to 600,000, it might squeak by if it gets 70% among them.

Because I don't know anything about the Republican mind, assuming such a thing exists, I'm not entirely sure of the outcome.

It really is amazing that none of us know anybody who's supporting it beyond the people who are bound to by deals they've made or money they've taken.  I can add to the chorus by saying my neighbors, co-workers, friends, and relatives are all voting "NO". They're a pretty leftish bunch, but it's still striking that a supposedly non-ideological proposal didn't persuade a single one of them.

[ Parent ]
Same with my back of the envelope
Dems make up 40% or so, maybe slightly less. Some will vote institutional so they contribute something on the order of 30-32%

Rs at 60%-- how far are they opposed? in W Michigan the small business angle is likely to sway. so two thirds or so go with Yes. That's 40% (or a total yes of around 48% maybe slightly more).

Then again, the more vocal the Nos from the left, the more it encourages a corresponding Y vote on the Right. I'm leaning to give the yes side 52% because of the partisan divide.

[ Parent ]
Then again, the more vocal the Nos from the left, the more it encourages a corresponding Y vote on the Right.

Actually, if that phenomenon does play out, I'd expect them to see endorsements by Schauer, Peters, Whitmer, etc., and vote no. Or maybe just decide to vote no because Snyder likes it (and he's a RINO, you know).

Now on Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott: Cotter vs. Jesus and Reagan

[ Parent ]
Lots of Township officials in my acquaintance are voting yes,
MTA is endorsing. They are not exactly paid to like it, but voting out of fear that the alternative will be worse.

Other than that, ordinary folk either are confused or smell a rat.  

[ Parent ]
I've gone back & forth
I'm on my way to vote now, and I think I'll vote for #1. My reasoning is admittedly shaky.
As noted above, tax cuts don't create jobs. But Big Business has been getting ALL the breaks under Snyder, and it's time small businesses got a break, if for no other reason than maybe it'll help make a few of them a teeny-tiny bit more competetive - like the local True Value franchise vs Menard/Lowe/Home Depot.
Second, the strongest objection to Prop 1 is that it will leave a budget shortfall. When we get a brand-new Democratic Governor & Legislature in November, maybe they'll make up the shortfall by properly taxing Big Business the way the Republicans haven't.

I picked 50-55% but I'm still voting no
As I wrote in my most recent diary, " I don't like the Personal Property Tax, but I like what passes for a plan to replace it even less.  I've decided to vote no on Prop. 1 and hope for a better fix in the future."

Greetings from Detroit, Ground Zero of the post-industrial future!

Tea Party seems split
Been cruising the tea party social media the past two days and leaders like Joan Fabiano and Trucker Randy are pushing no on Prop #! but some rank and file teabaggers like it because it cuts taxes.  Those who say no argue that Prop #1 is a Snyder-liberal Dem plot to raise taxes.  Of course it is. How could it not be in Bizarro World?

They actually
my have something there.  Either the state will have to cut some more or they will have to raise taxes.

[ Parent ]
Short Career
Unfortunately, it looks like our careers as pundits will be short. With 30% of the precincts reporting in the state, the votes for proposal one are 69% yes. (Sigh)

Of what $7 million in ad spending and no organized opposition will do for your proposal.  

[ Parent ]

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