Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Oregon Measures 66, 67, and the Obama Proxy

During a special election yesterday, the state of Oregon passed two ballot measures, one increasing taxes on people in the upper income bracket, and the other increasing corporate taxes. The measures passed by a narrow margin, and were only passed because of a large margin in Multnomah County, Oregon's largest and most liberal county.

The measures had very similar margins on the state level, 54.2 percent for Measure 66, increasing personal income taxes, and 53.5 percent for Measure 67, raising corporate taxes. Broken down by county, there was also, as could be expected, an almost perfect correlation.In fact, because of the way I round, there might have been even more correlation than this chart suggests. In any case, that isn't very interesting, as the results could probably be expected.
What is slightly more interesting is when I run the numbers for 66 (which, as I said, are also pretty much the numbers for 67) against my best current proxy of Oregon's politics: Obama's 2008 margins.
There is still a high deal of correlation here, alt:hough the numbers are different: Obama did a lot better than either of the margins did. However, some areas over performed Obama's numbers, whereas others underperformed. The counties on the right were underperformers, the counties on the left overperformers. Hood River, Washington, Clackamas and Deschutes counties are all underperformers, and the reason could be that they are counties with a lot of education, that might have been drawn to the image of "Professor Obama", but because they are also fairly wealthy, are less then enthusiastic about tax increases. On the other hand, Lincoln and Clatsop counties on the coast, as well as Umatilla, Wallowa and Harney in Eastern Oregon, are all more rural, traditional areas that might not like the image of liberalism, but might be more prone to economic populism.
At least, that is one way to look at the data. And of course, the skewing doesn't change the absolute numbers: rich, suburban Washington County still supported the measure, and poor, rural Umatilla County did now.

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