The† 2006 Election Ė In a Closely Divided Contest, Democrats Regain Control of Congress
††††††††††† Turnout in the 2006 General Election rose from just over 80 million voters in 2002 to more than 85.5 million in 2006.† As a percentage of the vote, however, it stayed static at 50%.†
††††††††††† The Democrats took control because the Republican vote collapsed.† Twelve states saw an absolute decline in the number of ballots cast: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.† Three-quarters of these states are in the south which has become a Republican stronghold.†
††††††††††† In only two of these states: Louisiana and North Carolina, can the decline be attributable to the absence of a statewide race, as compared to 2002.† Mississippi lost voters in spite of gaining a statewide race.
††††††††††† The states that showed increases of more than 100,000 voters were: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia.† Of the sixteen states that gained more than 100,000 voters, only two are in the south, in spite of the fact that the south is growing much faster than the northeast and Midwest.
††††††††††† So why did the Democrats win?† Because the Democrats contested 32 more House races in 2006 than they did in 2002, while the Republicans contested 9 less.†
††††††††††† The Democrats picked up 7 of the 36 Governors races on the 2006 ballot: Arkansas, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Ohio.†† The Republicans retained 16 governorships and the Democrats kept 13.
††††††††††† Total vote in the Governorís races increased by 4,231,377 from 62,248,255 in 2002 to 66,479,632 in 2006.† The Republican candidates lost 1,532,773 (-5.47%) votes, falling from 30,915,695 to 29,382,922.† The Democratic Governor candidates gained 5,646,346 (5.65%) votes, going from 27,774,745 to 33,421,091.† Independent candidates stayed almost the same, rising 117,804 (3.31%) from 3,557,815 to 3,675,619.
††††††††††† Although the independents did not win any governorships, their 3.5 million votes is just about the difference between the Democrats and Republicans: 3,140,950 in 2002 and 4,038,169 in 2006.† This is another illustration of the genius of the voters.
††††††††††† In 2002, the independent vote was 416,895 more than the margin between the Republicans and Democrats.† Consequently, even though the Republicans won 23 races to the Democratsí 13, almost two to one, they failed to get a majority of the vote, winning just 49.665% of the vote for Governor and 48.711% of the vote cast in the election.
††††††††††† In 2006, on the other hand, when the margin between the Democrats and Republicans exceeded the independent vote by 362,550, the Democrats managed to eek out a bare majority (50.27%) of the vote, even though they won fewer races (20) than the Republicans had won four years earlier (23).† Better yet, while the Democrats won a majority of the votes cast for Governor, they did not win a majority of the votes cast in the election.
††††††††††† Almost 2% of the voters skipped the Governorís race in both 2002 and 2006: 1,219,461 (1.92%) and 1,243,150 (1.84%) respectively.† This extra 1.2 million votes was enough to reduce the Democratsí percentage of the total vote to 49.35% in 2006.
††††††††††† Only eleven states elect Lieutenant Governors independent of the Governor.† In the other states the Governor and Lieutenant Governor run together as a slate.† The election results show why.
††††††††††† Republicans won 9 Lieutenant Governor races compared to the Democrats 2.† Eight of the eleven Lieutenant Governor races were won by the same party as the Governor.† Only 3 of the 9 Republicans, oneĖthird, had Democratic Lieutenant Governors.
††††††††††† Three Lieutenant Governor races resulted in a party shift.† In all three cases: California, Georgia and Oklahoma, it was a matter of the Lieutenant Governor remaining or becoming the party of the Governor.† In no case did the voters newly split the Lieutenant Governor from the Governor.
††††††††††† The Republican vote for Lieutenant Governor rose 1,023,579 from 9,211,522 (47.33%) to 10,235,101 (49.73%).†† The Democratic vote for Lieutenant Governor rose 249,151 from 9,241,149 (47.48%) to 9,490,300 (46.11).† Here again, independents held the balance of power preventing either major party from gaining a majority.
†† †††††††† In 2006, the Republicans bested the Democrats by 749,801 votes while the independents received 879,501.† In 2002, the Democrats beat the Republicans by 29,627 with the independents getting 1,055,207.† With all the talk of election reform, combining the Governor and Lieutenant Governor on a single ticket would be a good move, seeing as the winner is usually determined by the political party and not individual merit.†
††††††††† In most states, the powers of the Lieutenant Governor are limited or non-existent.† The Lieutenant Governor is basically an understudy for the Governor, in case he or she should get sick or die.† Another sign that the Lieutenant Governor is less important is that whereas less than 2% of the voters skip the Governorís race, in 2002 and 2006, 2.88% and 3.57% respectively did not vote for Lieutenant Governor.
Link to Lieutenant Governor Spreadsheet
††† The Republicans were really routed in the Senate, which makes sense because the Senate is the co-equal branch of government in the field of foreign policy.† Democrats won 22 of the 33 seats, with the Republicans winning only 9, and independents winning 2.† The independents caucused with the Democrats.
††† The Democrats got 33,924,532 votes (53.91%), the Republicans got 26,665,579 votes (42.37%) and the independents received 2,341,014 (3.61%).† Clearly, the Iraq war determined the outcome in the Senate.†
††† Richard Lugar, Republican of Indiana, had no Democratic opponent, so 22% of the voters skipped the Senate race in that state. †Consequently, 2.81% of the voters did not cast ballots for Senate.† Omitting the Indiana contest, that figure drops to 2.43%.† Similarly, without the Indiana contest, Democrats got more than 55% of the vote for Senate.† Add the other more than 1% for the independents Joe Lieberman from Connecticut and Bernard Sanders from Vermont who caucused with the Democrats, and that gives the Democrats more than 56% of the vote, a landslide.
††† As a result, control of the Senate passed to the Democrats by a narrow margin.
††† The Democrats did only slightly worse in the House vote than they did in the Senate.† The Republican vote fell 1,302,371 from 37,171,334 (49.972%) in 2002 to 35,868,963 (44.708%) four years later.† Meanwhile, the Democratic vote surged by 8,392,683, almost one-quarter, from 33,891,276 (45.562%) to 42,283,959 (52.704%).
†† The Independent vote fell 184,649 from 3,020,895 (4.06%) in 2002, when it prevented the Republicans from getting a majority of the vote for the House, to 2,836,246 (3.35%) in 2006, when it did not prevent the Democrats from getting a clear majority.
†† However, the massive number of voters who skipped the House races 5,400,331 (6.769%) in 2002, and an almost identical 5,252,140 (6.144%) in 2006, prevented the Democrats from getting an absolute majority of the votes cast in the election (49.465%).†† That means, between the independent vote and the people who skipped the House race entirely, the Republicans and Democrats combined got only 90% of the House vote in the 2006 General Election.† One reason for this is the large number of uncontested House seats.
Link to House Vote Spreadsheet
††††††††††††††† In 2002, Republicans held a 228 to 207 edge with one independent caucusing with the Democrats.† In 2006, the Republicans lost 24 seats compared to 2002, and the Democrats gained 25 (the independent went to the Senate) for a 232 to 204 margin.
††††††††††††††† Republicans lost seats in 19 states: Arizona (-2), California (-1), Colorado (-2), Connecticut (-2), Florida (-2), Georgia (-1), Illinois (-1), Indiana (-2), Iowa (-2), Kansas (-1), Kentucky (-1), Minnesota (-1), New Hampshire (-2), New York (-4), Ohio (-1), Pennsylvania (-4), South Dakota (-1), West Virginia (-1), and Wisconsin (-1).
††††††††††††††† Republicans gained seats in 3 states: Louisiana (+1), Maryland (+2), and Texas (+5).† The increase in Texas was accomplished through a controversial mid-census redistricting.
††††††††††††††† The big story in the House races was the decline in those running unopposed.† In 2002, 17.7% of the members of the House of Representatives ran without a major party opponent.† In 2002, 41 of the 228 Republicans (18%) ran without a Democratic challenger and 36 of the 207 Democrats (17.4%) ran without a Republican candidate.
††††††††††††††† In 2006, only 9 winning Republicans (4.49%) had no Democratic challenger, while 45 of the winning 232 Democrats (19.9%) had no Republican challenger.† So, the Republicans gave the Democrats a 36 seat head start in the House races in 2006.† This means that the Democrats needed only to win 182 of the contested 381 House seats (47.8%) in order to be in the majority, while the Republicans needed to win 199 (52.2%) in order to achieve the same result.† Yet, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claims she did not expect a Democratic House victory in 2006.
††††††††††††††† The credit for much of the Democratic success in the 2006 has to go to party chairman Howard Dean, the leading exponent of a full court press, competing in all constituencies.†† It is easier to win statewide races with a full slate of candidates for all offices.† At the very least, it means that the local candidates will show the flag and create visibility on the local level for the election and, hopefully, the candidates at the top of the ticket.
Link to House Party Spreadsheet
††††††††††††††† There were 1,150 state senate and 4,958 state representative races in 2006.† About 1/3rd of the races were unopposed by major party candidates.† Again, the Republicans fared poorly, dropping from 49.69% of the State Senators in 2002 to 43.39% in 2006.† An almost identical decline, 6.20% as opposed to 6.30%, took place in State Representative races: falling from 50.59% in 2002 to 44.39% in 2006.
††††††††††††††† Forty-six states elected legislators.† Twenty elected Democrats in both houses, 9 elected Republican houses, 13 split between the two parties, 3 elected representatives only, and Nebraska elects non-partisan representatives.
††††††††††††††† Of the 20 all Democratic legislatures, 8 had Republican Governors, and of the 9 all Republican legislatures, 3 had Democratic Governors.† That means that no more than 18 of the 46 states that elected Governors or legislators in 2006 had single party control of the state government.† Of the 14 single party states that elected Governors and legislators in 2006, 10 were Democratic and 4 were Republican.
Link to State Legislature Spreadsheet
††††††††††††††† An Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer of a state.† There were 31 Attorney General races in 2006, all but 1 in conjunction with a Governorís race.† In 10 of the 30 races, voters elected an Attorney General from† a different party than the Governor.
†Democrats won 19 races and Republicans won 11.† Of the 11 Republican Attorneys General, 8 had Republican Governors and of the 19 Democratic Attorneys General 11 had Democratic Governors.†
Strangely, both Republicans and Democrats gained in the Attorney General races.† The Republican vote rose from 22,998,612 (44.40%) to 24,887,259 (44.47%).† Democrats received 27,299,867 (52.70%) in 2002, which rose to 29,870,901 (53.37%) in 2006.† The reason is, of course, that the independent vote fell 266,599 from 1,503,642 (2.90%) in 2002 to 1,237,043 (2.21%) in 2006.
Total vote for Attorneys General rose 3,703,569 (6.69%) from 55,385,267 to 59,088,836.† Five of the Attorneys General changed party control.† The Democrats won from the Republicans in four states: Delaware, Kansas, Nevada, and Ohio.† In Kansas and Ohio, the winning Democrat was going with a winning Democratic Governor.† In Nevada, the Republican Governor was winning.† Delaware did not have a Governorís race.† The Republicans won in Wisconsin, where a Democrat Governor was winning re-election.† Having an Attorney General of a different political party is a non-statutory check that the voters can and do put in place.
The number of unopposed Attorneys General rose from one to three in 2006.† Consequently, the number of voters skipping the race rose from 2,301,143 (4.15%) to 3,124,327 (5.29%).†† However, the 3,703,569 (6.69%) increase in turnout, rising from 55,385,267 to 59,088,836 in those states electing Secretaries of State, was just barely enough to give the Democrats a bare majority of 50.55% of the vote compared to their 49.29% four years earlier.
Link to Attorneys General Spreadsheet†
Secretaries of State
††††††††††††††† Twenty-four states elected Secretaries of State.† Secretary of State is primarily a non-political administrative office; consequently, the voting pattern for Secretary of State is remarkably stable.
††††††††††††††† Republicans won 11 races and Democrats won 13 in 2006, the same as in 2002.† Two states changed from Democrat to Republican and 2 changed from Republican to Democrat.† In 3 of the 4 switches, the change was to make the Secretary of State the same party as the Governor.† In only one case, Nevada, did the voters change to a Secretary of a different party than the Governor.
††††††††††††††† There were 22 states that elected Secretaries of State and Governors.† In 10 states the Governor and Secretary of State were from different parties.† Secretaries of State administer elections, so splitting the party control between Governor and Secretary of State, as in the case with Attorney General, can be a non-statutory check.
††††††††††††††† Turnout in the states that voted for Secretary of State rose markedly, from 36,930,617 to 41,200,856 an increase of 4,270,239 (11.56%).† The number of unopposed Secretaries of State rose from two to four; the number of independent votes rose 295,142 (19.75%) from 1,494,783 (4.3%) to 1,789,925 (4.6%); and the number of voters skipping the race (because of the increased unopposed) also rose from 2,201,680 (5.34%) to 2,351,452 (5.71%).† In spite of this, Democrats were able to barely improve of their performance of four years earlier, winning a wafer thin majority of 50.607% of the vote compared to 50.232%, but still unable to gain a majority of all the votes cast in the election.
††††††††††††††† The Secretary of State races are synonymous with stability.
Link to Secretary of State Spreadsheet †
††††††††††††††† In 2002, the Republicans and Democrats were running neck and neck.† Only 72,775 votes separated them out of the 37,531,589 cast in the election.† As usual, the 1,342,927 independent voters and the 3,514,065 voters who did not vote for Treasurer held the balance of power.† Republicans won 14 and the Democrats won 11 Treasurer spots.
††††††††††††††† The story four years later was completely different.† Democrats picked up 4,707,621 votes while Republicans lost 311,417.† Democrats took 5 Treasurer spots from the Republicans: Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin; for a final tally of 16 Democrats to 9 Republicans.
††††††††††††††† Treasurer, though, is another technical office.† Of the 23 races held with Governor, 9 Treasurers were from a different party.† Voters do not want partisanship in the Treasurers office, although, when there is concern about ethics, having the two from different parties can constitute a check on fraud. Five of the 25 Treasurer races were unopposed, compared to only three in 2002.† Ironically, it is usual that the party with the greatest number of unopposed candidates falls short of a majority.
††††††††††††††† In 2006, Democrats received 20,993,693 votes compared to the Republicansí 16,047,430.† This gave Democrats a solid majority of 54.26% in the vote for Treasurer and a bare 50.38% majority of the 41,673,019 votes cast in the election.† The independent vote rose 303,577 (only 7,860 less than the decline in the Republican vote) to 1,646,484.† Seeing as the vote for Treasurer rose by 4,699,761 (7,860 less than the increase in the Democratic vote) it would be safe to say that 300,000 Republican voters in 2002 either voted independent or skipped the Treasurers race, while the Democrats picked up the entire 4,141,430† increase in turnout plus another 558,331 who skipped the race in 2002 but decided to cast ballots in 2006.
††††††††††††††† The Treasurers race is consistent with all the other races, but because the numbers are so close, it gives a good picture, like an MRI, of how the voters behaved in 2006.† The Republican vote declined slightly, but there was a massive increase in turnout for the Democrats with a modest shift of abstainers to the Democrats.† As is usually the case, the voters turned out to throw them out.†
†Link to Treasurer Spreadsheet
Auditor and Controller
††††††††††††††† In 2002, the Republicans and Democrats were very close in the Auditor and Controller races.† Although the Democrats won more votes: 19,362,330 (48.93%) to the Republicans 18,423,979 (46.56%) and the independents 1,784,784 (4.51%), neither won a majority and the Republicans won more races, 13 to 11.
††††††††††††††† In 2006, keeping with the general trend in other races, the Democrats picked up 2,466,103 to get 21,828,433 (52.31%), while the Republicans dropped 355,542 votes to 18,068,437 (43.30%). Independents puttered along, gaining 49,992 votes, but that was not enough to keep the independent percentage from dropping slightly to 4.40%.† As a result of the Democratic surge, the Democrats picked up two seats, to make the new total 13 to 11, but in their favor.
††††††††††††††† Auditor and Controller is another administrative bean counter job.† Hopefully, politics should not enter into the accounting and auditing function of government.† So, three of the twenty-four races were unopposed, as compared to only one four years earlier.† And while 7 of the 19 Auditor and Controller races that were coincidental with Governor races split party control between the two offices; in the 16 Auditor and Controller races where there was a Treasurer race, only 2 were of a different party from the Treasurer.
† ††††††††††††† So, while the voters might want to put a little partisan balance in the finance arm to offset the Governor, voters clearly want the Treasurer and Auditor to work smoothly together.
††††††††††††††† Turnout in the 24 Auditor and Controller states rose from 42,898,683 to 45,511,446.† However, because of the extra two unopposed races, the number of voters skipping the office rose from 3,327,590 (7.76%) to 3,779,800 (8.31%).† The increasing dropoff of voter participation in the Auditor and Controller races shows that voters do not consider these offices as important as Governor, Senator, US Representative, Attorney General or Secretary of State.
Link to Auditor and Comptroller Spreadsheet
Superintendent of Public Instruction Ė Voters Endorse No Child Left Behind Law
††††††††††††††† In every race examined thus far, the Republican vote has declined slightly while the Democratic vote surged.† Suddenly, when it comes to education, traditionally a Democratic issue, the pattern changes.† In 2002, there were 4 Democratic Superintendents of Public Instruction and 3 Republican.† In 2006, two states switched from Democrat to Republican.† This is the only office in which Republicans made a net gain in officeholders.
††††††††††††††† The popular vote tells the same story.† Republicans gained 472,623 votes from 2,912,993 (47.23%) to 3,385,617 (52.14%).† Democrats lost 163,402 dropping from 3,102,220 (50.29%) to 2,938,818 (45.26%).† In the telltale sign that this was no fluke, the number of people who skipped voting for the office fell by 21,231 more than enough to offset the 15,876 increase in independent voters.† Consequently, in 2006, the Republicans won an absolute majority of all the votes cast in the election (50.43%) compared to the 48.4% that the Democrats won in 2002, even with their majority in the races.
††††††††††††††† This is a clear sign that the voters approve of the No Child Left Behind Law that demands accountability from the schools.† Bashing the No Child Left Behind Law is almost a Democratic Party mantra.† Voters also think education is an important issue.† The number of voters skipping the office fell from 3.76% in 2002 to 3.28% in 2006.† This means that voters considered this office more important than all the others except Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Senator.†
††††††††††††††† Nota Bene.† Thatís fancy voting.† The voters turned out to boost the Democrats in all offices except Superintendent of Public Instruction, where they boosted the Republicans.
Link to Superintendent of Public Instruction Spreadsheet
Commissioner of Agriculture
††††††††††††††† Five states, all in the south, have elected Commissioners of Agriculture.† The Republicans have three and the Democrats have two.† Alabama and Georgia re-elected the sitting Democratic Commissioners of Agriculture.† Florida, South Carolina and Texas kept the office in Republican hands.
††††††††††††††† The turnout in those states dropped by almost half a million, so the Republican candidates lost 413,387 the Democrats lost 15,055 and the independents lost 3,207.† The Republican vote fell 1.37% from 7,340,199 (53.82%) to 6,926,812 (52.45%).† The Democratic vote rose 1.34% on a vote falling from 6,076,867 (44.56%) to 6,061,812 (45.9%).† The independent vote stayed almost static, falling from 219,304 (1.608%) to 216,097 (1.637%), an increase of 0.0229% in relative terms.
Link to Commissioner of Agriculture Spreadsheet
Public Service, Public Utilities and Railroad Commissioner
††††††††††††††† Five states elected regulators of utilities: Alabama (2), Georgia, North Dakota, South Dakota and Texas.† In 2002, 5 Republicans and one Democrat won.† In 2006, three offices went from Republican to Democratic, leaving the tally 2 Republicans to 4 Democrats.
††††††††††††††† Assuming the Democrats are more sympathetic to the consumer, or rather that the Republicans are more biased toward the utilities they are supposed to be regulating, the switch was accomplished more by a collapse of the Republican vote (-491,462) than by an increase in the Democratic vote (108,692).† Still, the Republicans just managed to maintain a majority†† 50.05% of the votes for public utilities commissioners, but not a majority in the election.†
††††††††††††††† The Republican vote fell from 5,054,847 (53.49%) to 4,563,385 (50.05%).† The Democratic vote rose from 4,156,482 (43.98%) to 4,265,174 (46.78%).† The independent vote rose 50,648 (21.2%) from 238,596 (2.40%) to 289,244 (3.17%).† Total turnout in the races fell 316,432 (3.19%) from 9,912,794 to 9,596,362 .† The number of voter who skipped the race entirely fell from 544,852 (5.5%) to 478,559 (4.99%).† This shows that only the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Senator were considered more important races in 2006.†
††††††††††††††† The switch of the Public Utilities Commissioner from Republican to Democratic in South Dakota made him the only Democrat in the state government.† This proves that the voters were worried about energy costs in November 2006, long before the sub-prime mortgage crisis, the collapsing dollar and the soaring energy costs.†
Link to Public Service Commissioners Spreadsheet
††††††††††††††† Three states had Land Commissioner races: Arkansas, New Mexico and Texas.† The tally was 2 Republicans to 1 Democrat.† Only New Mexico split between the Governor and the Land Commissioner and none of the offices switched party.
††††††††††††††† Here again, the Republican vote fell 276,317 from 2,882,839 (51.36%) to 2,606,522 (47.74%), while the Democratic vote rose a modest 72,394 from 2,490,226 (44.36%) to 2,562,620 (46.94%).† The independent vote rose 50,194 from 240,084 (4.28%) to 290,233 (5.32%) and the number of people skipping the race rose 30,441 from 4.399% to 5.023%.
Link to Land Commissioner Spreadsheet
††††††††††††††† Two states elected Corporation Commissioners, Arizona and Oklahoma.† The Republicans retained both on a slight 76,378 rise in the vote lifting their 1,113,307 (49.67%) in 2002 to 1,189,685 (53.08%) in 2006.† The Democratic vote fell a slight 948 from 960,863 (42.87%) to 959,915 (42.83%).† The independent vote almost doubled from 51,155 (2.28%) to 91,648 (4.09%).† Turnout in the race rose 115,959 (5.45%) from 2,125,325 to 2,241,284 but the number of people skipping the race rose from 173,258 (7.538%) to 238,210 (9.607%).†
††††††††††††††† The Republican Corporation Commissioner in Oklahoma is the only Republican in the state government, just as the Democratic Public Utilities Commissioner in South Dakota is the only Democrat in that stateís government.
Link to Corporation Commissioner Spreadsheet
††††††††††††††† The Republicans maintained their command of the oversight offices by retaining the Insurance Commissioners in the two states that elect them: Georgia and Kansas.† The Republican vote rose 136,185 (4.72%) from 1,736,168 (60.12%) to 1,872,353 (64.84%).† The Democratic vote fell 19,958 (-0.69%) from 1,000,552 (34.65%) to 980,594 (33.96%).† The independent vote rose fell 22,226 (-0.77%) from 56,907 (1.97%) to 34,681 (1.20%).
††††††††††††††† It is difficult to dislodge the Republicans from these offices because the regulated industries care a lot about who is the commissioner and will contribute funds and pay attention to the campaign, while there is really no money to be made in the protect the consumer position so it is difficult to mount a challenge.
Link to Insurance Commissioner Spreadsheet
††††††††††††††† Georgia and Oklahoma are the only states to elect Labor Commissioners.† This office, of greater concern to the working people, both went Democratic.† Georgia stayed Democratic and Oklahoma narrowly switched.† The Republican vote† fell 35,919 (1.21%) from 1,419,451 (47.84%) to 1,383,532 (46.63%).† The Democratic vote rose from 1,487,082 (50.12%) to 1,583,628 (53.37%).† The Democrats even got a majority of the votes cast in the election, 51.73%.
††††††††††††††† The independent vote fell from 66,710 (2.25%) to zero.† The turnout in the races fell 30,596 from 3,091,966 to 3,061,370.† The vote for the office fell too, 6,083 but not as much as the total turnout.† The number who skipped the office rose 16,043 to 94,210 (3.08%) from 78,167 (2.53%).† This shows that the Labor Commissioner is considered a very important office by the voters in Georgia and Oklahoma.† Furthermore, it shows that at least one-third of the vote for independents does not take away from the Republicans and Democrats.† At least one-third of the vote for the independent disappeared when there was no independent on the ballot.
Link to Labor Commissioner Spreadsheet
††††††††††††††† Arizona elected a Mine Inspector.† Like most of the natural resource regulation offices, it is solidly in the Republican column.† In 2006, the Democrats did not even field a candidate.† Therefore, the Republican vote surged 420,032 from 637,065 (57.0%) to 1,057,097 (100%).† Still, there were 1,553,032 total voters in the election which shows that one-third of the voters will not vote in an uncontested race.† The Democratic vote fell from 479,635 (42.9%) to zero.
Link to Mine Inspector Spreadsheet
††††††††††††††† North Dakota elected a Tax Commissioner in an off-year election for the first time in 2006.† It was won by Republican Cory Fong with 112,154 votes or 53.05%.
Link to Tax Commissioner Spreadsheet
††††††††††††††† South Carolina has this unique office, an elected Adjutant General.† He runs oversees the South Carolina National Guard and Air National Guard, functions carried out by the Governor in other states.† He has many state functions, including the State Guard and State Homeland Security, a relation with Clemson and sits on the Board of Visitors of the Citadel, the state run military college unique to South Carolina.
††††††††††††††† Naturally, the Adjutant General is a Republican, Stan Spears.† The Democrats did not even run a candidate against him in 2002.† In 2006, he did face opposition.† The Republican vote fell from 732,393 (99.3%) to 617,871 (58.1%), while the Democratic vote rose from 0 to 445,078 (41.85%).† There were 5,047 (0.7%) write-in votes when there was no Democrat.† That number fell to 343 (0.03%) in 2006.
Link to Adjutant General Spreadsheet
††††††††††††††† There were 196 questions on the ballot in 36 states, ranging from a high of 18 in Arizona to a low of 1 in Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Utah and Vermont.† Voters voted 199,095,244 Yes to 147,985,229 No on all the questions.† As usual, questions dealing with personal behavior attracted the most voters.
Tobacco and Smoking
††††††††††††††† There were 12 questions on the subject of smoking and tobacco. Arizona voted to restrict smoking to private clubs and designated areas by 54.75% while rejecting by 57.34% a measure that would have permitted smoking in bars and restaurants.† Nevada voted by a similar 53.9% to limit smoking while allowing local governments to be stricter, while rejecting by 52% a measure that would prevent smoking in some place but limit the power to regulate to the legislature.† Ohio voted 58.52% to restrict smoking in most public places and rejected by 64.11% an attempt to restrict the limiting power to the legislature only.†† Voters are against smoking and for local control of the issue.
††††††††††††††† South Dakota voted 60.8% to raise tobacco taxes.† Florida voted by 60.9% to use 15% of its tobacco settlement money for addiction prevention education. Missouri rejected by 51.43% a $.04 per pack tax for smoking prevention and health care only, and California barely rejected by 51.69% a proposal to tax cigarettes by $2.60 a pack to pay for health care.† Idaho voted by 58% to put the tobacco settlement money into a permanent, untouchable, Millennium Trust Fund.† Arizona voted 53.18% to fund early childhood and health programs through a tobacco tax.
††††††††††††††† Seven states had issues dealing with marriage and cohabiters.† Colorado voted 55.02% that only a man and a woman may marry and 52.35% against domestic partnerships..† South Carolina voted by 77.97% to restrict marriage to a man and woman only.† Arizona narrowly voted by 51.80% to protect marriage by denying benefits to cohabiters.† Virginia voted 57.06% to restrict marriage to a man and woman only.† Idaho voted 63.35% to limit marriage to a man and woman, but South Dakota only narrowly (51.83%) approved limiting marriage to a man and woman only.† Tennessee overwhelmingly by more than 4 to 1 (81.25%) voted to limit marriage to a man and woman only.
††††††††††††††† Only three states had abortion questions.† South Dakota voted 55.57% to retain abortions.† Oregon by 54.76% declined to require a 48 hour parental notification prior to an unemanicipated minorís abortion.†† California also, by 54.19%, declined to require parental notification before termination of a pregnancy.
††††††††††††††† California voted overwhelmingly 70.47% for global positioning system monitoring of sex offenders and to prohibit them from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park.† Hawaii voted 77.15% to let the legislature define sexual assault against minors under the age of 14.
††††††††††††††† Six states raised the minimum wage.† Arizona voted by 65.32% to raise the minimum wage to $6.75 per hour with annual increases.† Ohio 56.64% voted to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.85.† Colorado voted by 53.3% to raise the minimum wage for workers who do not receive more than $3.02 per hour in tips.† Nevada voted 68.7% to raise the minimum wage.† Montana voted 72.68% to increase the minimum wage.† Missouri voted 75.97% for a $6.50 minimum wage plus cost of living annual increases.
††††††††††††††† The huge margins by which minimum wage votes passed in all states but Colorado shows that voters understood the economic difficulties of the nation before the sub-prime crisis hit the news.† The closer margin in Colorado may be because of the codicil concerning workers earning tips.
††††††††††††††† Voters overwhelmingly repudiated the Supreme Courtís decision in Kelo v. New London that permitted government use of eminent domain to take private property and convey it to another private entity under the rubric that general economic development is a public purpose.
††††††††††††††† South Carolina voted by 86% to restrict Eminent Domain to public purposes.† New Hampshire, by an almost identical 85.66%, voted to restrict eminent domain to public purposes.† Michigan restricted the use of eminent domain by 80.08%. Nevada reformed eminent domain by almost 2 to 1, 63.11%, which on this issue is close.
††††††††††††††† Arizona voted 64.79% to specifically bar eminent domain for economic development purposes.† Georgia voted 82.72% to restrict the use of eminent domain for development to public bodies and elected officials.† North Dakota voted by 67.4% to change the rules for taking private property for public use.† Oregon voted by 67.1% to prohibit public bodies from condemning private property to convey to another private entity.
††††††††††††††† Florida straddled the issue by voting 69% to permit eminent domain transfer to a private entity, but not without a 3/5th vote of the legislature.† In a similar vein, Maryland voted 84.9% to prohibit the transfer or sale of public land without legislative approval.
††††††††††††††† Idaho, however, went to far when it linked its proposal to restrict eminent domain to call also for compensation for government regulation that affects the value of private property.† Idaho voted 76% against the proposal.† Washington also voted 58.88% against compensation for regulations that change the value of private property.† California† voted 52.37% against a proposal to make taking private property by eminent domain more difficult, even if it is for a public purpose.† So, while voters are clearly against using eminent domain to take private property to give to another private entity, they support the legitimate uses of eminent domain.
††††††††††††††† Immigration was a hot button issue, especially in Arizona.† That state voted 74% to designate English as the Official Language in spite of studies that show that immigrants who retain the culture of their native country are more law abiding and productive than those who ďassimilate.Ē† Furthermore, many nations require their inhabitants to speak more than one language.† Not just small ones like Switzerland, but large ones like India, where most people speak three languages.† This vote in Arizona is a good example of people overwhelmingly supporting a proposal that is bad for them and actually works against the very goals they want to accomplish.† Gee, I wonder why the dollar is in a free fall.† This is an example of a clear failure of leadership.† Only one or two public officials and candidates, most notably New York Mayor Bloomberg and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, have been willing to speak the truth on this issue.
††††††††††††††† In the same vein, Arizona voted 77.88% to prohibit bail for illegal immigrants.† Thatís a great idea.† Dad gets arrested for DUI.† Now, his family starves and his employer needs to hire a new worker, probably losing business in the process and reducing tax receipts.† Yea!! No wonder the country is heading into a depression.† Letís expel all the job holders.
††††††††††††††† Moving right along, Arizona voted by 74.22% to make it illegal for illegal immigrants to receive punitive damages.† Thatís a good idea.† Letís encourage individuals and corporations to flagrantly violate illegal immigrants rights. Because theyíre illegal immigrants, theyíre no longer entitled to be treated like humans under the law.† This sounds like the way Jews were treated in Nazi Germany.† Special laws for special people.† Hey, letís send them all to Guantanamo.
††††††††††††††† And Arizona voted 71.43% that illegal aliens are not entitled to public programs (school tuition, adult education, etc.)† Here again, it shows a basic misunderstanding of the fact that the United States disproportionately benefits from illegal immigrants.† When they are children, their rearing and education expenses are borne by their native country.† Then, they arrive in the United States ready to work, having cost the US economy nothing to train or rear.† Guess why the economy is collapsing?† The people in Arizona are too bigoted to know how to steal.
††††††††††††††† Colorado, which abuts Arizona, voted 55.72% to file a lawsuit to force the United States Attorney General to enforce the immigration laws.† They narrowly, 50.74%, approved a question that wages paid to illegal immigrants would not be entitled to business tax deductions.† At least this shows that almost half the voters realize that using businesses to enforce immigration laws is bad for the economy.
††††††††††††††† In a similar vein, Michigan voted 57.91% to ban affirmative action programs.
Drugs, Alcohol and Gambling
††††††††††††††† Colorado voted by 59% not to legalize possession of 1 oz. of marijuana.† Nevada did a little better, but still voted 56% not to legalize and tax 1 oz. of marijuana for people older than 21.† South Dakota rejected a medical marijuana initiative by 52.3%.
††††††††††††††† Oklahoma voted 52.5% to remove the Election Day ban on the selling of alcohol.† Massachusetts refused by 56.3% to let food stores sell wine.
††††††††††††††† Rhode Island rejected by 63% a proposal to allow the Narragansett Indian Tribe to open a casino.† Arkansas, however, voted 68.92% to allow charitable raffles.† An attempt in South Dakota to ban video lottery, which provides 11% of the stateís revenue, failed with 66.94% voting no.† Nebraska voted 61.0% not to authorize the use of video keno gaming devices.† Ohio voted 56.6% not to expand gambling at racetracks the proceeds going for scholarships.†
††††††††††††††† Georgia voted 85.1% to allow a homestead ad valorem tax exemption for the unremarried surviving spouses of police and firemen who die in the line of duty.† Georgia also voted 88.65% for a homestead ad valorem tax exemption for seniors and by 89.94% to provide a surviving spouse with the base year value.† Florida by 76.3% voted to increase the homestead tax exemption from $25,000 to $50,000 for low income seniors.† Louisiana approved by 67.57% a special homestead tax exemption for military people with more than 50% disability, who are killed, missing or prisoners, and non-military permanently disabled.† Colorado voted by 79.24% to extend the senior citizen tax exemption to 100% of the value.† Florida voted by 77.73% to allow permanently combat related disabled veterans to receive a homestead tax discount equal to the percentage of his or her disability.† Tennessee voted 83% for a real estate tax exemption for people over 65.† Washington voted 79.8% to increase the personal property tax exemption for ad valorem tax from $3,000 to $15,000.† Utah voted 62.4% to allow the legislature to exempt < $3,500 of personal property from ad valorem tax.
††††††††††††††† South Carolina voted by 68.9% to limit the increase in real estate value for tax purposes.† Louisiana voted 59.7% to exempt from ad valorem taxation > 5 year leases on medical equipment for non-profit hospitals.† Georgia voted 68.46% to exempt from ad valorem taxation charitable organizations whose income is used for charitable purposes, 71.29% for exemptions for veterans organizations that refurbish aircraft for educational purposes, and 60.7% to expand the ad valorem tax exemption for farm equipment to lease/purchase agreements.† Virginia voted 64.76% to allow partial tax abatement for construction and improvement in conservation and development areas.† South Dakota by an overwhelming margin of almost 4 to 1 (79.2%) refused to allow the legislature to equalize property assessments for tax purposes by no more than 3% a year.† Missouri voted 61.2% for tax exemptions for veterans organizations.† Arizona voted narrowly (50.72%) to limit real estate tax increase to 2% per year plus new construction in each year with no carryover.† Louisiana by 54.47% voted to exempt artworks from ad valorem taxation.† Oklahoma voted 63.1% for a Freeport (trans-shipment) exemption, meaning that articles that remain in the state for no more than 90 days may be exempted from ad valorem taxation.† Louisiana voted 60.68% to exempt motor vehicles from local ad valorem taxation.
††††††††††††††† Louisiana voted by 58.86% to increase the general severance tax on natural resources from $750,000 to $850,000. California rejected by 54.55% a proposition to levy a tax on oil producers for alternative energy research and production.† Alaska also rejected, by an even bigger margin of 65.5% a proposal to tax natural gas under lease to spur development.† Wyoming voted 66.6% to put the 1.5% mineral excise tax into a permanent inviolate trust fund.
††††††††††††††† New Jersey voted by 66.9% to devote .5% of the sales tax to property tax reform (meaning rebates to homeowners.) Nevada voted 68.8% to exempt used cars and farm equipment from sales tax.† South Dakota kept the gross receipts tax on cellphones by 60.6%.† Idaho voted by 72.3% to affirm $260 million in property tax relief and keep the sales tax at 6%.†† Minnesota voted 57.2% to use motor vehicle sales taxes 40% for public transit and 60% for highway.
††††††††††††††† Oregon voted 62.8% not to allow income tax deductions equal to federal exemptions rather than state.
California voted 76.9% and New Jersey voted 59.54% to restrict the use of transportation taxes to transportation items.
K Ė 12 Education
††††††††††††††† Washington refused by 61.8% to eliminate the tax on estate transfers whose proceeds went into an educational trust fund.† Idaho refused by 54.5% to add a 1% sales tax for Kindergarten to 12th grade school funding.† Alabama voted 58.58% for a minimum 10 mill ad valorem school tax.† Colorado rejected by 62.3% an amendment to require that at least 65% of the school budget be spent on instruction and rejected another proposal by 58.4% to spend 65% of the school budget on student achievement.† California voted 76.6% against a $50 per parcel tax to fund education.† Nevada voted 54.64% to fund public education first from the state budget (before anything else.)† Wyoming voted 54.77% to limit the county ad valorem tax levy to < 6 mills.† Michigan rejected 66.3% a proposal to establish mandatory inflation adjusted school funding.
Louisiana voted 54.80% to grant East Baton Rouge the same authority as other parishes for school funding and expenditures.† South Dakota voted 56.8% against a proposal to prohibit starting the school year before August 31st. Nebraska voted 56.3% not to dissolve rural school districts that would require students to be bused further to class.
†New Mexico voted 69.2% to allow schools to lease property and exempt the obligation from the debt limit.
Rhode Island approved by 62.0% $72,790,000 worth of Higher Education Bonds.† California approved 56.8% $10.416 billion in Kindergarten Ė University bonds. Wyoming voted 71.0% to make Higher Education trust funds inviolate, to be used only for enumerated educational purposes plus maintaining value of the trusts.† New Mexico voted 55.3% for $118,360,000 of Higher Education Bonds.† Arkansas approved by 68.65% bonds for higher education technology and facilities improvement.
Hawaii voted 61.5% that the Governor can appoint University Regents only from an advisory council list.† Nevada refused by a bare 50.72% to change the 11 elected University regents to 3 elected and 6 appointed by the Governor.
Louisiana voted 78.3% for a single assess in Orleans Parish to be elected at the same time as other municipal officials.† Rhode Island voted 51.54% to restore a felonís voting rights after the discharge of his punishment.† Oregon voted 58.7% not to impose term limits of six years as state representative and eight years as state senator.† Arizona voted 81.0% against mail-in elections.† Colorado voted 57% against term limits for judges.† Oklahoma voted 87.7% to restrict the pay of legislators who go to jail.† Oregon voted 56.5% not to require judges to be elected by district, as opposed to at-large.†
Arizona overwhelmingly rejected 66.6% a proposal to randomly award $1,000,000 to a primary or general election voter.† Seemingly, this was someoneís brilliant idea for increasing voter turnout, by turning elections into a trip to a casino.† South Dakota voted 89.2% against a proposal to subject public officials to fines and jail for deliberately illegal decisions.† Colorado voted 62.5% for a ban on gifts to public officials and a two year limit after leaving office before being allowed to lobby.† Missouri voted 84.1% to deprive elected officials of their pensions if convicted for a felony in office; and requiring a 2/3rds vote to change salary commission recommendations.† Montana voted 75.5% to prohibit certain elected and appointed officials from being lobbyists after leaving office.† Oregon voted 53% for campaign finance limitations and prohibitions.†††
Hereís a bit of irony.† Florida voted 57.78% to require a 60% vote to pass Constitutional amendments or revisions.† Although this provision will become law, it would have failed under the system it is proposing.† Arizona refused by 52.2% to raise legislatorsí salaries from $24,000 to $36,000.†† Maryland voted 70.5% for a slew of election law revisions, including early voting, university voting districts, public voting lists, etc.† Colorado rejected by 69.2% a proposal to require voter approval for future petition laws and rule changes concerning Initiative and Referendum, including a 75 word limit.† California rejected by 74.2% public financing of political campaigns and expenditure limits.† Alabama voted 61.2% for the Macon County Board of Education to have 6 year staggered terms.† Colorado voted 55.3% not to change recall election provisions from the constitution to legislative enactment.† Maine approved by 54.1% a proposal to require initiatives to be filed within 18 months of the election and with a one year limit on when signatures can be collected.† Massachusetts rejected by 65.4% a proposal to allow political candidates to be endorsed by more than one political party.† New Hampshire voted 70.5% to make state representative districts equal in population (and New Hampshire has 400 of them). Oregon voted 59.7% not to allow election finance laws by initiative or ĺ legislative vote.
Hawaii voted 58.6% for a salary commission to review and recommend salaries for the Governor, Legislature and Department heads.† South Carolina voted 71.0% to permit the state pension fund to invest in all stocks, not just publicly listed US stocks.† Alabama narrowly (50.1%) refused to let Pritchard County establish a free trade zone.† Nevada declined by 70.3% to pay daily compensation, postage and phone for legislators.† South Dakota voted 55.3% to limit the use of government cars and planes to official business use only. Arizona voted 51.3% against a seven member commission to run public trust lands and 72.4% against giving trust lands to the counties while easing bidding and public notice requirements.† Voters can smell land giveaways with no problem.†††
††††††††††††††† South Carolina voted 78.7% to allow either house of the legislature to go into recess for more than 30 days by a 2/3rds vote. South Carolina also voted 75.9% to delete the provision that neither house can adjourn without the permission of the other.† Nevada refused by 52.3% to permit special legislative sessions by 2/3rds vote, for not more than 20 days and with a specific set of issues to be discussed. Alaska narrowly voted by 50.83% to reduce the legislative session from 121 to 90 days.
††††††††††††††† Colorado voted 76.1% to repeal obsolete constitutional provisions.† Montana refused by 64.0% to change the name of the State Auditor to Insurance Commissioner.† New Mexico voted 69.85% to repeal obsolete alien ownership of property provisions.† South Dakota refused by 67.4% to remove limits on legislative reimbursement.† Virginia voted 65.1% to delete the unconstitutional ban on charters for churches.
††††††††††††††† New Mexico voted 62.22% for Senior Facilities Bonds and 56.8% for $9,090,000 in Library bonds.† Rhode Island voted 67.8% for $11 million in bonds for the Roger Williams Park Zoo; 75.4% for $88.5 million worth of transportation bonds; 60.7% for $3 million of Department of Environmental Management Water Bonds; and 66.0% for $50 million of affordable housing bonds.† Rhode Island, however, failed by a narrow 50.5% to approve $4 million in Fort Adams State Park bonds. California voted 57.76% for $2.85 billion in bonds for battered women, low income, senior, disabled and military shelters; 61.3% for $19.9 billion in bonds for highway safety, traffic reduction, air quality and port security; 64.1% for a $4.09 billion disaster preparedness, flood control and drinking water bond; and 71.46% for a $5.388 billion water quality, safety and supply, flood control bond.† Arizona voted 59.3% to permit the 20% debt cap on assessments to include public safety, law enforcement, fire, streets and transportation expenditures in the allowable expenditures.† Pennsylvania voted 61.1% for a $20 million Persian Gulf Veterans Fund.
††††††††††††††† Nebraska voted 70.1% not to impose a state spending lid.† Maine also voted 53.9% not to limit increase in spending to inflation plus population growth, in addition to requiring voter approval required for all tax and fee increases. Oregon too voted 70.8% not to limit percentage of state spending to increase in population plus inflation.††
Georgia voted 67.3% to use the money from special license plates for the purposes of the special plate.††† Hawaii voted 71.0% for special purpose revenue bonds for agricultural enterprises. New Mexico voted 55.5% to allow governments to pay a portion of affordable housing.† Oklahoma voted 53.5% to use the Rainy Day fund to help distressed manufacturers.† Rhode Island voted 59.3% to create a budget reserve account.† Florida voted 59.84% that no more than 3% of recurring expenses can be paid from non-recurring income.† South Carolina voted 66.54% to abolish the advisory investment panel.† North Dakota voted 67.23% that trust fund management should be based on average value, not interest and income.
New Mexico voted 65.72% to create a Water Trust Fund, an inviolate trust fund whose proceeds can only be used to deal with the stateís water problems.† Michigan voted 81.0% to create a trust fund with inviolate dedication of the money† to conservation/recreation purposes. New Jersey voted 60.0% to allow the use of some environmental funds for recreation facilities instead of cleanup.† Voters supported a Washington initiative 51.7% to require utilities to set conservation targets.†
Missouri voted 51.1% to ensure access to stem cell therapies, prohibiting research with human cloning and providing criminal penalties for violation.† Oregon voted 77.9% that anyone without prescription drug coverage can participate in Oregonís plan.†
Massachusetts refused by 52.2% to allow home based child care providers to bargain collectively under the stateís subsidized child care program.†
Oregon voted 64.6% against a measure to prohibit insurance companies from using credit scores to determine insurance rates.†
Crime and the Judiciary
North Dakota voted 56.4% against a child support and custody measure that would reduce the power of the courts in divorce proceedings.† It would have guaranteed equal access and joint custody unless one parent was adjudged unfit, would have barred child support payments in excess of the actual cost and mandated that the divorced parties agree to a joint custody plan.† Courts would have become involved only if the divorcees were unable to meet these requirements autonomously.
Maryland voted 66.9% to limit civil jury trials to issues with greater than $10,000 at stake.†
Arizona voted 57.9% to allow jail time for first and second use of methamphetemines.
Hawaii voted 62.4% not to repeal the mandatory retirement age of 70 for all state court judges.† Louisiana voted 60.6% to create new judgeships with family and juvenile jurisdiction.
Maryland voted 77.8% to permit a person who did not appeal a ruling to an in banc panel of judges to appeal an adverse ruling from the panel.
Michigan voted 69.0% against allowing a hunting season for Mourning Doves.† Georgia voted 81.0% to protect the traditions of hunting and fishing.†
Arizona voted 61.9% against standing pens for pregnant pigs and calves.
††††††††††††††† This analysis of the 2006 election results demonstrates that, with the sole exception of immigration issues in Arizona and Colorado, voters are generally level headed, sensible people whose judgment is far better and more honest than their leaders.
Link to State by State Comparison of 2006 results with 2002 results
Return to Institute of Election Analysis Home Page