Straw Ballot smack down

For years (if not decades), the Watertown Public Opinion has run a “Straw Ballot” on election issues and candidates. The ballot is printed in the paper and “voters” have to mail or bring in an original, not a photocopy. It has been highly accurate over that time. While the Straw Ballot may not nail the percentages, it has been an excellent barometer of the ultimate outcome on both issues and races.

That said, today’s Public Opinion might cause Amendment E supporters more than a bit of heartburn and perhaps even lead them to consider asking the Zogby organization for a refund. (Oh, I forgot. The J.A.I.L.ers had Zogby ask a question about an imaginary measure that isn’t on the ballot.) The paper’s editorial page reports today:

#3. Constitutional Amendment E – To implement the judicial accountability amendment.

14% Yes
86% No

Now the P.O. notes that this is not a scientific poll but the results of the other ballot measures seem to fit with what we’ve been hearing throughout the year. The results here also may be influenced in part by the fact that, at least in my opinion, the paper has spent a bit more time looking at J.A.I.L. and informing its readers than some other newspapers.

The numbers also appear consistent with the poll No on E released today. It shows 46 percent of voters oppose Amendment E, 42 percent are undecided and only 12 percent say they support the measure. While the undecideds are high, the polling firm noted that “the more South Dakotans learn about Amendment E, the more they reject it.” Thus, even a split of the undecided gets the no vote up to 67 percent and, as I indicated, the Watertown paper has done more than most in educating readers. Frankly, I could care less what the final percentage breakdown is as long as J.A.I.L. goes to the dung heap on which it belongs.

I don’t want to steal the paper’s thunder on the other ballot issues so if you’re interested, you can get the rest of the results at the newspaper’s web site (registration required).

Thinking isn’t agreeing or disagreeing. That’s voting.

Robert Frost

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