A version of the Millionaire’s tax now on the ballot in Massachusetts has appeared at least three maybe as many as five times in the last 50 years. The polls all start out the same. In January of the election year the range is 55-60% yes with 30-35% no. Looks good, right? yeah…wrong go far. The reason the rule of thumb is that a question needs at least 60% “yes” to start, is that there is significant erosion in the final two weeks resulting from undecided and unenrolled voters. Undecided voters generally vote “no” to the Millionaire’s tax referendum, as do unenrolled voters who are peeled off by late advertising against the tax.
So here we are two weeks out and the most recent Suffolk poll has it 58-37% yes. Badabing. The usual track to defeat goes something like this:
Business groups, in the name of keeping those “job creating millionaires” from fleeing to confederate states like Florida, Texas or New Hampshire, unload $5-10 million on negative advertising, which quickly seeps into the mind of the most ignorant voter, the dreaded unenrolled voter.
I’m not going to take the time to explain why the unenrolled are the most ignorant, GOOGLE IT!
The VOTE NO ads are a variation of the “job creators,” “trickle down” bull which is targeted at the middle and lower classes to scare them about losing their jobs. The other effective message is that state government cannot be trusted to use the money for what was promised, like education and transportation in this case. Look at what they did with the tobacco tax BLA BLA BLA. This bit is combined with the very real fear felt by many in the middle and professional classes that the millionaires have tax attorneys and accountants that will help their clients circumvent the new taxes and the burden will then fall on them.
Even when the “yes” side outspends the “no,” the no’s can win because a negative message is easier to move than a positive one; so the no’s can often overcome a spending disadvantage.
IS THERE ANY HOPE THAT A SANE ELECTORATE WILL NOT BE MOVED BY BULLSHIT ECONOMIC ARGUMENTS (SHOUT OUT TO LIZ TRUSS) AS THE TWO MINUTE CLOCK NEARS?
Hold it, I may see some lingering light in the fog.
First, haven’t seen much of a “no” campaign YET. They could be holding their fire, maybe they gave up, but I haven’t felt much. I have, however, seen good stuff from the “yes” campaign. The MA electorate is now 53% female and 47% male. That’s a six-point edge in a group that’s yes 66% compared to men at 50%; these are significant advantages over years past and that power was clearly on display in the gender sweep in Democratic primaries.
Even better news, younger voters are very strong “yes” supporters. Voters 18-35 are yes 63% to 28% yes and those 36-45 are 77% to 20% yes and they represent 30% of the total electorate. BOOM!
If this question passes thank the women and the young for holding the line in these next few days.