Friday, July 27, 2012

Fair Shows Justice Center Support

Based on the first measurement of support and opposition, it looks like the $46.5 million justice center bond issue has a good shot at passing this fall. At the Johnson County fair mock election, the Yes vote was 67.7%, well above the 60% required for passage.

With kids among the voters, the mock election is a "your mileage may vary" measure. But most folks agree kids tend to follow parental leads on such things, and based on past results in other contests, the percentage is at least in the ballpark.

A justice center question at last year's fair, with different wording and dollar amounts, pulled just 51% yes. In the last real election on the subject in 2000, a proposal for a new jail lost by more than two to one.

But things can change: The last big money issue on a fair ballot was the 2008 conservation bond, which had 75% support at this time four years ago. A No campaign got off the ground late and the measure barely cleared the required 60% in November.

Final result 8 PM Thurs 7/26
Barack Obama (Democratic) 575 59.6%
Mitt Romney (Republican) 318 33.0%
Jill Stein (Green) 26 2.7%
Gary Johnson (Libertarian) 18 1.9%
Rocky Anderson (Justice) 11 1.1%
Virgil Goode (Constitution) 6 0.6%
Stewart Alexander (Socialist) 6 0.6%
James Harris (Soc. Workers) 5 0.5%
US Representative
Dave Loebsack (Democratic) 551 60.6%
John Archer (Republican) 358 39.4%
Justice Center Bond (60% required)
Yes 578 67.7%
No 276 32.3%
Total Voters 984

This being Johnson County, Democrats prevailed in the candidate contests. But it's about the margin here, as Democrats need the People's Republic to make up for counties out west that are even redder than we're blue.

President Obama's numbers were down a bit from his 66.5-26.3% fair win over John McCain, with the third parties at about the same level of support. In the real election, Obama scored 69.9% in Johnson County. That was an all-time record for Democrats; McCain was at 28% and the third party vote shriveled up when it actually meant something. (At least one Green vote at this year's fair came from a four year old who wisely noted that Jill Stein was "the only girl" on the ballot "and I like girls," as she selected a green piece of candy. Attention Madam Secretary of State...)

Dave Loebsack's support was also down from his 65% in 2008 and 63% in 2010. In both years his actual November results were within two points of the fair vote. Both those cycles saw third parties on the ballot, but so far this year it looks like just a two-way race. We'll find out for sure soon, as filing starts Monday and runs through August 17.

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