While we will likely know who the next President is within a few hours, we won’t find out the results of our state elections (Governor, I-985) or the regional transit expansion measure that we strongly support (Proposition 1). King County, the state’s largest, expects to count only about 39% of the ballots tonight.

But of course we can look at the returns as they come in and try to predict the outcome. For background, the Sound Transit District covers part of King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties. The harsh reality is that King will likely have to pull up lackluster support from Snohomish and Pierce voters. If — and this could be a big if — Snohomish and Pierce Counties report 43% and 44% respectfully (as they did in 2007’s Roads & Transit vote), then it’s projected that a 55.5% vote in King County would lead to the measure passing by 51%-49% overall. Now, obviously, if we get worse results in Snohomish and Pierce, then King voters will have a steeper hill to climb.

When the polls close at 8pm you’ll be able to see results at this page. Results will come hourly until around 1am. Again, we probably won’t know for sure if the measure passes tonight so be patient.

Let’s party

The Mass Transit Now campaign boosting Proposition 1 is throwing a party at Kells Irish Pub near Pike Place Market. I think some of us bloggers will be there, so stop by. It’s right near the Showbox!

How do the polls look?

Well, for Proposition 1 we don’t have much information. Older polls showed massive support for a light rail expansion, but there are concerns that the financial crisis will hurt Prop. 1. The latest meaningful poll pegs support at 47% Yes, 33% No, and 20% Undecided with likely voters (including leaners). The wisdom is that undecideds tend to break against initiatives. That poll was taken on October 18 and 19. Things could have shifted for or against the measure, and the likely voter model that SurveyUSA uses may not account for a changing electorate that Obama might bring to Puget Sound.

But this looks much, much better than a poll taken from the same pollster for last year’s Roads & Transit measure around the same time last year, which ended up failing. That poll found 30% Yes, 32% No, and 37% Undecided but unfortunately didn’t include leaners — so it’s not an apples-to-apples camparison.

I-985 has had more polling from SurveyUSA. A poll taken 10/26 – 10/27 found 29% Yes, 42% No, 29% Undecided. Another taken 10/30 – 11/02 found 33% Yes, 45% No, 23% Undecided. Because these polls are from the same pollster and are recent we can extrapolate that there is at least some solid opposition to Tim Eyman’s bad initative. Thank goodness.

In terms of Governor, polls are extremely close. We have endorsed Gregoire for Governor because Dino Rossi’s policies are dangerous to transit.

How did the Proposition 1 campaigns do?

The No campaign, NoToProp1.Org, has mostly relied on a massive amount of funding from Kemper Freeman, Jr. Just a few small contributions have been made. The campaign raised $152,725. The No campaign started a bit late, and invested mostly in radio ads as far as we can tell. They have had some online ads and of course have yard signs here and there.

The Yes campaign, Mass Transit Now, has received funding mainly from engineering companies, unions, and environmental groups. It has also received dozens of small contributions made online. The Yes campaign raised substantially more money with $892,623 in the bank.

The Yes campaign focused on grassroots operations, targeting farmer’s markets initially and canvassing Seattle and urban parts of the Eastside, Pierce County, and Snohomish County. The campaign reached voters through phone banking and multiple mailers (of which the No campaign had none). The Sierra Club, FUSE, TCC, and other major contributors to the campaign supplied volunteers and space for phone banking. The Yes campaign has also appeared on the radio, though the buy seemed smaller, and they have had online ads as well. There was far more Yes signage around.

The Seattle P-I, The Tacoma News Tribune, and the Stranger endorsed Proposition 1. The Seattle Times suggested voting No.

So that’s where things are. Today it’s in the hands of the voters.

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