The voters of Missouri just sent you a really big present wrapped up in a shiny red bow. I can just imagine all the buckled knees inside the White House, and all the panic and paranoia in the West Wing that’s going to set in, once the D.C. media and political culture blows by the denial stage.
Because there is so much to analyze with yesterday’s successful Proposition C, I’m going to deal with it first and separately from the rest of yesterday’s results. You can break down the raw data here and here.
When I previewed yesterday’s MO primaries a few weeks ago, I predicted that C would pass, but I didn’t handicap the percentage. Honestly, I was thinking that it would win somewhere in the upper 50s/lower 60s range, and would have set 60 as the plus/minus for “entertainment purposes only.” I thought that it would lose big in St. Louis City and Kansas City, lose handily in Boone County (Columbia, University of Missouri), lose slightly in St. Louis County, Jefferson County and some poorer lead belt/Ozarks counties like Reynolds, but win big everywhere else. I also thought that confusing ballot language (thank you, Mrs. Antolinez) and inverted voting (You voted for C to vote against ObamaCare, and vice-versa) would confuse enough people to keep C’s winning percentage from rising to the level of a landslide.
As it turned out, the final percentage was 71% Yes 29% No. It won every county save St. Louis City and Kansas City. (Note: The Missouri Secretary of State’s office tabulates Kansas City proper separately from the rest of Jackson County, even though most of KC that matters is in Jackson County, and parts spread out among three other counties. C won big in Jackson County outside of KC.) Its weakest winning counties were Boone, St. Louis County and Ste. Genevieve, where it “only” won in the low 60s. Most counties reported in the 70s and 80s, with Mercer County being tops at 89% Yes.
There were more Yes votes for Prop C than there were votes for any Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, much less any Democrat candidate for U.S. Senate.
It took the media a long time to declare for Prop C. I wanted to hold off in my own declaration, because I wanted to wait for the first results from either St. Louis City or Kansas City. By the time the first urban results came in, C was winning 75-25. The first urban results were almost half of STL’s boxes, and it showed C losing, but only by a 58-42 margin. That proved to me that urban opposition to C was lethargic, meaning that C was going to win. As it turned out, STL was 59-41 opposition, while KC was 57-43 opposition. Both cities are usually 70%+ Democrat. And both cities’ turnouts were so low, (12.78% for KC, 13.56% for STL), that they were the two lowest turnout jurisdictions in the state. So you combine tepid percentage opposition with low turnout, and it meant that a 73-27 support for C everywhere else in the state was only drug down to 71-29.
All those poor Ozarks counties that I though would vote against C voted for it, with numbers very close to the statewide rural average, and better than the statewide average.
Now I have to deal with the media/lib morning after bromides.
Bromide #1: This only dealt with one part of ObamaCare. It didn’t repeal the whole thing.
Answer: The individual mandate is key to the entire package of “reforms.” The reason it’s so important to the Obama White House is NOT because of the economics of health care reform, or this particular HCR package, as some WH hacks are claiming. The real reason is politics. When the WH started on HCR, they didn’t want a repeat of 1993-4, and they didn’t want the health insurance industry funding Harry & Louise TV ads, so they crafted the bill with the full input and cooperation of the health insurance industry, with their chief lobbyist, Miss Almost-a-Palindrome, in practically every room for every negotiation. There was no way in hell that she was going to countenance a bill without the Federal government forcing people to buy policies from her clients. If the individual mandate is weakened through a series of state interpositions, such as Prop C, or by the Federal courts, then Ignagni gathers her marbles and goes home.
Bromide #2: The Republican leadership in the State Senate put this issue on the August ballot instead of the November ballot, because Democrats threatened a filibuster.
Answer: You hear this more in the national media, because the Missouri media know better. The Democrats in the Senate can’t filibuster anything, nor can they even sustain a Gubernatorial veto. The Republicans have a better than 2-to-1 advantage in the Senate. I never heard any such gossip in the days and weeks that the General Assembly was getting Prop C on the ballot. As you can see, it wouldn’t have mattered which ballot it was on, because it was going to win either way.
Bromide #3: Of course C was going to win. It was a day with far more contested Republican races than Democrat races.
Answer: That contradicts #2. Of course, I don’t take #2 at face value anyway. But, as I said above, there were more Yes votes for Prop C than there were total votes for any Republican U.S. Senate candidate, much less any Democrat U.S. Senate candidate. (A better than 5-to-3 margin for Rs over Ds in that category, FYI).
Still, I will concede that Republicans were jazzed and Democrats were lethargic. There was hardly anything competitive on the Democrat side, and Democrats all across the country are bumming. BUT…71%. I’m just doing some educated guessing in my own mind, and I can’t imagine a credible scenario, assuming the most jazzed Democrats ever and the most lethargic Republicans ever for an election in Missouri, that would result in C getting less than in the mid-50s percent Yes. Three weeks ago, Rasmussen found that among Missouri’s registered voters (not likely voters), 58% supported C, 38% opposed. So you start with 58%, take off a few points for depressed Republicans and black voter fraud, and that would take it down to, say, 54%. But that’s still a majority.
And, as it turns out, Chuck Purgason wasn’t the threat to Roy Blunt that it seemed like (or rather, I hoped) he could be. Other than a few state legislative races, there wasn’t that much competitive on the Republican side, either. Other than Auditor, and who the hell gets excited over a damned ACCOUNTANT?
Bromide #4: Prop C was a show of strength for conservatives and tea party activists.
Answer: So the tea partiers aren’t an extremist fringe anymore, huh? 71% is a pretty radical and fringe minority, you must admit.
Actually, it wasn’t just conservatives and tea party activists that supported C. Counties like Jefferson and Reynolds are fairly reliable Democrat in many statewide races and in Presidential politics, because they’re poorer Ozarks counties. Yet, they voted for C big time. And are we to believe that St. Louis City and Kansas City are more than 40% conservative and tea party? Are we to believe that Boone County, with the University, is 60% conservative and tea party?
Bromide #5: HHS will sue.
Answer: Let ‘em. One word: Arizona.
C won in wards 10, 11, 12, 14, 16 and 23, all southwest city. With 60% approval, the 12th was its best ward, but that’s not surprising as the 12th is the only city ward to elect a Republican alderman. Generally, the better a ward was for Prop C, the higher its turnout was. But even in the low turnout/no vote black north side, you see yes percentages in the high 20s and lower 30s, and that’s saying something, when Republicans get no votes from these areas, for all intents and purposes. Unlike the Stupid Party illiterati, who would interpret halfway respectable black numbers for Prop C as an indication that blacks are on the verge of going conservative, I write nothing into it. It may be that they misunderstood the inverted ballot language.