Much as it pains me, Labor Day is just around the corner. The end of summer will mean the unofficial start of campaign season. And that, of course, means me ranting about property law in Oregon, specifically Measure 49, a ballot initiative that will trim back a few aspects of Measure 37.
But it’s still summer, so let’s do the fun stuff. The first published poll is out today, and it has Measure 49 ahead by 58 percent to 12 percent among likely voters. Support is a little stronger, but not drastically so, among Democrats and residents of the Portland metro region and of coastal areas. Full results are here (pdf), where you’ll find some other interesting tidbits about Oregon politics too.
Now, lest Measure 49 supports start jubilating in the streets, it’s worth mentioning that conventional wisdom says that a 58-12 margin before Labor Day really doesn’t mean much. That’s because ballot initiatives, unlike candidates, tend to start off with high support and then slowly erode until Election Day. Even the pollster, Mike Riley, cautions that 58 percent support is actually kind of soft. Okay, those are the caveats, but there is reason to believe that support for Measure 49 is likely to remain strong.
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Quite apart from the fairly pervasive dislike of Measure 37, there’s the simple fact that there appears to be virtually no organized campaign opposed to Measure 49. Oregonians In Action (the folks who brought you Measure 37) have a crude webpage, but that seems to be about all. It’s worth contrasting to the sophisticated and friendly web presence maintained by the Yes-On-49 campaign.
So far, the main opposition strategy seems to be a lawsuit (pdf) based on a due process challenge to the measure. Perhaps later, and with the aid of some legal advice, I’ll dive into the merits of the lawsuit. For now, I’ll simply note that whatever the suit’s merits, it may have the effect of generating bad publicity for 49 or at least muddying the waters. Still, that’s a pretty anemic campaign strategy.
Okay, that’s enough horserace for now. Next time: more substantive analysis, less superficial campaign punditry.