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Initiative 985: Wrap-Up

Initiative 985 was defeated on November 4, 2008 by a margin of 20 percent, according to the official website of Washington’s Secretary of State Sam Reed. The official tally showed 60 percent voted against the initiative, while 40 percent voted in favor.

Despite prognostications by Tim Eyman, I-985′s main proponent, the initiative was soundly defeated. On October 3, Eyman stated in response to the question, “How is I-985 doing in the polls?”

Washington only has one pollster, Stuart Elway. Elway has I-985 at 51% “Yes” with 20% still undecided. Given Elway’s inaccuracies in the governor’s race, you could add ten percent to the “Yes” and you might be in the ballpark. 

There is no multimillion dollar opposition campaign facing me this time. So far, the opposition, the usual liberals and tree huggers, have raised $29,100 from just seven donors. That’s because I-985 will have no huge fiscal impacts. It only affects 0.5% of the general fund. Opponents are saying it is the end of the world, but they are not acting like it. It’s surreal. I’m used to getting the crap kicked out of me.”

Ironically, the results were the mirror opposite of his guess.

Only one of Washington’s 39 counties voted in favor of the issue – Pierce County. Even in that one winning county, the vote was virtually even, with a 235 vote margin out of 319,105.

Eastern and Central Washington voted overwhelmingly against I-985 with most counties voting greater than 65 percent against the initiative, and even 6 counties voting greater than 70 percent against the initiative. One of the major criticisms of I-985 from opposition groups was that statewide tax dollars would be funneled disproportionately toward the Puget Sound region, which was seen as unfair to Eastern Washington.

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