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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Advisory vote

5 tax advisory votes this fall

OLYMPIAWashington voters will be asked in November what they think about five tax increases.

What legislators do with that knowledge is pretty much up to them, because the taxes are already law, and the election itself won’t change that. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Cooking the books, city election style

Whether they realize it or not, the Spokane City Council is asking to cook the books on the Community Bill of Rights charter amendment and skew the results of the November vote. They’re using a strategy campaigns sometimes use to get the result they want.

This newspaper’s longtime pollster Del Ali cautioned us years ago that one can skew the results of a poll not just by what’s asked, but by the order of the questions. It’s advice we still use to evaluate polls before reporting them.

 One of the oldest tricks is to put the question for the results after several other loaded questions. For example, if you were a challenger trying to show your incumbent senator is not well supported by the constituents, you wouldn’t just ask “Overall, do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Sen. Sneed?”

Instead, you’d first ask something like, “Would it change your opinion of Sen. Sneed if I told you he supports turning Glacier National Park into a nuclear waste dump?” or “Would it change your opinion of Sen. Sneed if I told you he supports tripling your income tax rate and spending it on more federal agents to take away your guns?”

After giving Sen. Sneed several nasty jabs – they don’t have to be things he supports because of the “if I told you” lead-in – the survey asks if the voter’s opinion is favorable or unfavorable. Sneed’s favorable rating goes way down, and the challenger’s campaign staff claims those numbers prove he’s vulnerable.

This is, for all practical purposes, what the City Council voted to do last Monday for the November ballot. (An election is arguably just a big poll with a 0 percent margin of error.) The council added two advisory questions to the ballot. Reduced to their simplest, the questions are “Should we raise taxes to pay for the Envision Spokane Bill of Rights?” and “Should we cut services to pay for it?”

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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