Enter the 2009 Maine Election Pool
It's that time of year again, the chance to prove you know the people and the politics of the state of Maine. It's the 2009 Maine Election Pool!
You may remember last year's pool, where readers attempted to predict the 2008 Maine presidential, senate, congressional, legislative and referenda votes and Dan B. came in first with an average calculated error of just over 3% in each race (doing far better than most polls).
This time, the ballot lacks any (more easily predictable) candidate match-ups, so pegging the outcomes of the seven questions in the pool will require a great deal more luck or skill.
To enter the pool, simply go here and enter your predictions. Be sure to fill out the entire form. The top three overall winners will each receive a prize of one or more political stickers of my choice. Winners are decided by the combined difference between each prediction and the actual vote percentage for and against each question divided by two.
To help you make your predictions, here's a quick overview of what's on the ballot:
Question 1 would reject the state's new same-sex marriage law. Polls over time have shown this to be an incredibly close question, although some have given small leads to the No side. The result of this referendum will likely be determined by what kind of voters make it to the polls on election day. The No side has more money and a great GOTV operation in place, but they're fighting against the tide of a what's usually a more conservative electorate in an off-year election.
Question 2 is one of two ballot measures authored by the Maine Heritage Policy Center and supported by Maine Leads, a pair of conservative, small-government organizations. Question 2 would reduce or repeal the excise tax on new cars. Opponents argue that this would lead to increased property taxes and cuts to municipal services like road repair. Opponents of this measure have significantly out-raised supporters, have run an effective TV ad campaign and seem to have the momentum in this race.
Question 3 would repeal the school consolidation law devised by Governor Baldacci and passed by the Maine legislature. Supporters have been massively out-spent by opponents of the measure, who have the financial backing of a variety of businesses and organizations that are allies of the governor. Most Maine voters live in school districts that would be unaffected by the outcome of this queston.
Question 4, also known as TABOR 2, is the other initiative supported by the Maine Heritage Policy Center and Maine Leads. It is similar to a referendum rejected by voters by an 8-point margin in 2006. Polls showed the Yes side with a large lead early in the race but the No campaign has been gaining ground ever since, in part due to a large fundraising advantage, and may now be even or slightly ahead.
Question 5 is an initiative that would increase the availability of medical marijuana, which was previously approved in principle by Maine voters in 1999. There is a small organized group supporting this proposal. Opposition has mainly come in the form of public statements against the measure from public health and law enforcement officials. For more on how Maine voted on the last medical marijuana initiative, see this post.
Question 6 is a bond issue, mainly for transportation. Bond issues usually pass, especially when they promise to draw down matching federal funds. However, in 2008, the bond question passed by a very slim margin, perhaps signaling a new hesitancy in the electorate towards government borrowing.
Question 7 is a constitutional amendment that would make a small change to the initiative petition gathering and ratification process, giving town clerks more time to examine signatures. The change seems to be uncontroversial and the question has received little media attention.
Now, go prognosticate!