Politics beat bucks in ballot measures battle

| Print |  Email
Archives - December 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008

STATEWIDE As the dust settled following November’s election, Oregon taxpayers found themselves on the line for a relatively small price tag for ballot measures. Measure 57, which increased prison sentences and a drug treatment programs, will cost $268 million over the next four years. The combined cost of the eight measures that failed, on the other hand, would have been at least $1.7 billion over the next few years.

Surprisingly, big price tags aren’t what push the majority of Oregonians to vote for or against a measure. Voters who take the time to read about the cost of a measure in an election aren’t insignificant, but they’re still not large enough to make a difference in the final tally, according to Oregon State University political scientist Bill Lunch. What matters is politics: who supports or opposes a measure and how persuasive their arguments are. Sometimes cost figures into that, and sometimes it doesn’t.

“If there isn’t a campaign against a measure, almost anything can pass — ballot measure titles normally sound positive,” Lunch says. “The key to a defeat is the presence of groups who are willing to run a campaign against it.”

And this year there were plenty of groups willing to do exactly that. According to post- election analysis, union organizations spent at least $14 million successfully fighting seven different measures. But it was only the campaign against Measure 61 and its billion-dollar price tag to build new prisons, say Lunch, where cost was a significant part of the opposition’s argument to voters.                    

ABRAHAM HYATT


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

More Articles

Oregon businesses face destruction from future earthquake

The Latest
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
htctthumb1BY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An earthquake would completely destroy many Oregon businesses, highlighting the urgent need for the private and public sectors to collaborate on shoring up disaster preparedness, said panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast summit today.


Read more...

Biker dreams

The Latest
Friday, May 15, 2015
bike at ater wynn-thumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is seeking input from businesses on a $5.5 million initiative to create a network of biking, transit and pedestrian trails within Portland’s central city.


Read more...

Stemming the tide of money in politics

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
 jeff-lang-2012-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

Jeff Lang and his wife Rae used to dole out campaign checks like candy.  “We were like alcoholics,” Lang says. ”We couldn’t just give a little.”


Read more...

Destination Resorts 2.0

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

As the recession recedes and tourism grows, Central Oregon resorts redefine themselves for a new generation.


Read more...

Marijuana law ushers in new business age

The Latest
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
062315panelthumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

Oregon’s new marijuana law is expected to lead to a bevy of new business opportunities for the state. And not just for growers. Law firms, HR consultants, energy efficiency companies and many others are expected to benefit from the decriminalization of pot, according to panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast meeting on Tuesday.


Read more...

6 key things to know about summer baseball in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, June 05, 2015
basedthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.


Read more...

Queen of Resilience

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Astrid Scholz scales up sustainability.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS