Sure, you can’t always trust exit polls. But this is interesting: a Washington, DC polling firm contracted by the Sierra Club just released an analysis (pdf link) of voting patterns on Puget Sound’s Roads and Transit ballot measure. And the poll confirms what we’veargued several times now: global warming is starting to play a key role in the region’s transportation debates.
In a nutshell: Proposition 1 fell by a vote of 55 percent to 45 percent—meaning that about 5 percent of the voters would have had to change their minds in order for the measure to pass.
And in this exit poll, nearly one-fifth of the “no” votes—or about 10 percent of all voters—cited concerns over climate disruption as their top reason for opposing the package. Diving a bit deeper into the data, there was a sizable bloc of voters—perhaps just enough to tip the electoral scales—who supported transit, but were concerned enough about the climate impacts of new roads that they opposed the measure as a whole.
Obviously, polling data are squishy, and the finer you split the responses the less accurate they become. That said, the climate-transportation link really seems to have sunk in: apparently, there’s now a critical mass of voters who see climate and transportation as joined at the hip—and are letting climate concerns guide their votes.
And regardless of how you feel about light rail’s fate, voters’ growing awareness of the link between climate and transportation is something to feel good about.