Thursday, August 21, 2008

the predictive value of the 2008 Washington State primary

Somewhat silly predictions aside, it's time to look at the results of the primary. A few observations.

1. Voter turnout was way below average in King County--around 20%, compared to 27%+ statewide--which may have artificially inflated Rossi's overall performance. Rossi's camp is probably praying this trend continues into the general election, since King County went 60% for Gregoire this time around.

2. As David Goldstein notes, there's no comparing this primary with the previous primary in 2004, in which voters had to choose a party, not any old candidate. The best comparison is between this primary and the general election of 2004. Provisionally, I agree with him that this is a "straw poll" for Gregoire, and that her win is a genuine win. In other words, since voters were free to choose any candidate, just as they can in the general election, the predictive power of the "top two" primary is considerably stronger than some, like David Postman of the Seattle Times, have claimed, even if Gregoire still isn't a sure thing.

3. Considering #1 above, and the natural incumbent advantage, and the fact that Gregoire's people are probably concerned that their candidate didn't top 50%, I'd predict that this primary motivates and mobilizes Democrats. Watch for a flurry of spending and campaigning, even more than last time, to secure Gregoire's lead.

4. Terry Bergeson has to feel great that she outpolled Randy Dorn. She has to be nervous, though, that "anybody but Bergeson" was the clear winner. If even David Blomstrom could siphon 4% of the vote, the electorate is clearly displeased by the current administration. Whether Dorn can rally all the opposition, though, remains to be seen. Blomstrom's probably going to call me a media whore no matter what, but I wasn't horribly impressed by Dorn's approach and his sketchy past--and partly due to Blomstrom's own efforts to raise tough questions about Dorn's past. Dorn seemed like the least worst option. I miss Rich Semler.


Ryan said...

Stupid dumbocrap and republicon media whores keep selling the schools out to big business Nazis like union whore Terry Bergeson and Vista whore Bill Gates. Also, Seattle Mafia whores like Nazi Nickels are whores who whore themselves to other whores. In stores.


Not David Blomstrom

Ryan said...

It's also worth noting that the Dorn/Bergeson gap has closed to slightly more than 6% currently, after being about 11% on election night. This has faint echoes of how the Rossi/Gregoire gap has closed since election night.

This could suggest a couple of things:

1) Later voters had more of a chance to hear Dorn's message and thus turned out for him more dependably. That could be a positive trend for him going into the general.

2) Similarly, Terry might have a King County problem. She polled less than 42% and only leads Dorn by 10,700 votes, which sounds like a lot until you consider that Blair, Hansler, and Duncan all received more than 13,000 votes on their own. If the theme is change...

3) My suspicion when the WASL results start rolling out next week is that many, many more schools and districts are going to end up in AYP. That's going to upset a lot of parents, and that's not the kind of publicity the incumbent is looking for.