As of 11:50 p.m. election night, most Seattle and King County votes haven’t been counted yet.
But some people don’t know that, and are already proclaiming McGinn over Mallahan. Way too early, guys. Those were the ballots that arrived early. Historically, later ballots trend differently, often in ways hard to predict. Sometimes the later votes are younger or more liberal. In this case, McGinn’s switcharoo on the tunnel might have hurt him, at least according to polling. But the damage would only show for people who voted after the 20th, when his announcement made the papers (ballots have to be mailed out 18 days in advance).
Conversely, there are undoubtedly a lot of people who voted for McGinn specifically because he mellowed out on the tunnel, allowing them to make their vote about other issues, where he had some good ideas in areas like density, sustainability and transit. This might have helped him after the shock wore off. If he wins, I hope he’ll do exactly as he said on his central issue: be a good watchdog, but not get in the way of the tunnel.
Personally I think Mallahan has at least a 50 percent chance right now…purely based on public and newspaper Web site info. My guess is McGinn lost some true believers due to the tunnel switch, without gaining the same number to replace them. More results come out at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to the King County voter site.
Constantine vs. Hutchison is a wee bit more clear…she got trounced, currently by 14 points, worse than any poll. It’s an odd trend in this state, with votes frequently going significantly further left than polls suggested, with Rossi and McGavick being other examples. Theories will abound, like R-71 (drawing young voters more than conservatives perhaps?), cell phones (hard to poll and not properly accounted for by pollsters), late ads, etc. Also, the left has a volunteer advantage that helps get voters to vote. Hutchison’s idea of not talking about major aspects of her political beliefs didn’t appear to work, as we voters tend to care about our politicians’ political beliefs. Looking forward, this race has implications for many urban issues, such as Constantine’s greater support for saving bus service and building light rail.
Miraculously, voters seem to be figuring out Tim Eyman. Initiative 1033, designed to employ Tim Eyman, while also gutting state and local government services long-term and hopefully engendering political maneuvering that would continue to employ Tim Eyman, is down almost 11 points right now. At minimum, voters seem to be looking past the apple-pie ballot titles and thinking twice, perhaps remembering past initiatives. Eyman’s initiatives tend to poll well early but tail off as people learn more, and lately they’ve been tailing off into “landslide loss” territory.
And how about the housing levy currently winning by 17 points? Seattle’s housing programs are one of the great prides of this city. Aided by these levies, the Seattle Housing Authority and Seattle’s array of outstanding non-profits build and maintain significant amounts of housing, and manage to improve neighborhoods in the process through attractive, long-life design and construction.