The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Colorado EV initiative: now polling neck and neck

Last time we looked (October 8), Proposition 36 was riding high, 51-36.

A SurveyUSA poll released yesterday makes the spread 45-44, with a 4.5 point MOE.

I note with interest that Prop 36 has attracted the attention of the gurus at the Note - who put out an APB to readers for legal advice on the constitutional issues (hard times at Mousewitz?). If passed, it's worth just four votes to the loser - so it's only relevant in the tightest of Electoral Colleges...

On the legal question, a cursory search produces no sign of constitutional challenges to changes to the law in Maine (1969) and Nebraska (1991) whereby, in each state, two EVs are given to the statewide winner, and one EV to the winner of each Congressional district in the state.

Ron Brownstein's Making Every Vote Count Would Be a Tricky Proposition yesterday suggests as particular vulnerabilities in the Colorado case the facts that
  1. the law is to be changed by initiative, rather than by the state legislature (Article II(1)(2)); and

  2. the initiative is expressed to be retroactive to the 2004 presidential election.

As far as presidential polling in Colorado is concerned, this summary shows a mixed picture: SurveyUSA and Mason-Dixon giving Bush an 8-9 point lead, Zogby and - wait for it! - Gallup giving a Kerry 1 point lead and a tie respectively.

The Doomsday scenario, of course, is that Bush loses in CO, but the four EVs he picks up thanks to Prop 36 take him to 270. The deflation of the smugness I suspect in the California carpetbaggers behind the initiative [1] would be a sight to behold!

Do you think they would back a Dem fight to declare their own initiative unconstitutional? Or would they choose principle and weigh in on the side of the GOP?

Great craic!

  1. Known as The People's Choice for President. I had read (May 31) this group was based in San Francisco. Time says Phoenix, apparently.


I'm not clear how scorched earth postseason play is going to get. Both parties are going to have no shortage of lawyers in on the ground wherever the popular vote could conceivably be close. And Parkinson's Law is liable to apply.

(Plus these are not exactly campaigns who've been paying overly much attention to the Marquess of Queensbury!)

So, suppose Kerry wins the Electoral College by 30 15 [20 EVs split two ways only go so far!]. What are the chances of one of the Red states learning a trick from Colorado: Ohio, which has a Republican Governor and a GOP-controlled House and Senate, could introduce a bill requiring its EVs to be split proportionately, with effect from 2004, as proposed in CO's Prop 36.

(Both Houses are sitting in November and December [1].)

No doubt, at least one Blue state would take up the challenge - Illinois, say - and all hell would break out.

We're clearly in druther (or TV movie) territory here: but then I can't remember that Florida 2000 was widely predicted.

  1. Research via the National Conference of State Legislatures site - which has a links page with links to the several state sites.

    It also has a piece which links to charts showing the state of the parties in all state legislatures, and the party affiliation of the governors.

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