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Voters Defeat Constitutional Convention

by | Nov 5, 2008 8:35am
() Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Election 2008, Election Policy

Christine Stuart file photo

Connecticut voters soundly defeated the first ballot question asking voters if they wanted to hold a constitutional convention.

Proponents of a convention hoped it would lead to citizen initiative and referendum and possibly a ban on gay marriage, while opponents warned that a convention would trample citizens basic civil rights and give political power to special interest groups.

In a statement sent out late Tuesday night by opponents, Peggy Shorey, ‘Vote No’ campaign manager said, “People recognized that a political convention is risky, and it’s not real change.”

Based on a poll of 502 voters last week it looked like voters may approve a constitutional convention. The University of Connecticut poll found voters supported a convention 50 to 39 percent.

However, University of Connecticut Law School Professor Richard Kay was able to predict the question’s defeat last week.

“I gotta think it’s gonna lose. This is the land of steady habits,” Kay said last Thursday.

The second question on the ballot which asked if 17-year-olds should be able to vote in presidential primaries if they will be 18 years old before the general election, was approved by the voters Tuesday.

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(5) Archived Comments

posted by: twoladiesinwaiting | November 5, 2008  8:57am

I raise a glass to the land of steady habits.

posted by: Christine | November 5, 2008  9:45am

Here is the tally on Question 1 according to the Associated Press:

729 of 759 precincts - 96 percent

Yes, 539,454 - 41 percent

x-No, 790,806 - 59 percent

posted by: Doug | November 5, 2008  9:53am

Here’s to you, twoladies!

Interesting point on the convention question… the polls were wrong apparently. Or the poll questions didn’t offer a middle ground. Or people just changed their minds. But that poll came out less than a week ago.

posted by: Doug | November 5, 2008  11:26am

I think we’re looking at either one of two things, or a combination of both:

1) The Courant-UConn poll was released less than a week ago. It showed bipartisan support for the convention, with more Democrats favoring a convention. Were those numbers inaccurate? Did the language of the poll questions lead to results that under-reported the undecideds?

I would have liked to have seen an additional question asking “yes” voters whether they also would support a ban on gay marriage. That data would differentiated those who want to ban gay marriage from those who were interested in eventually seeing other ballot initiative topics.

2) Was this anti-Catholic backlash? Did undecided folks come around to the idea that the church was trying to stick its nose into people’s business?

Either way, those poll numbers made this result a surprise. The fact that Massachusetts opted to keep its income tax gives credence to the idea that voters can make good decisions. The dishonest TV advertising here was inescapable on both sides of the issue, and quite well-produced.

That “land of steady habits” catch phrase certainly seems to have legs. I’m hearing that a lot of people didn’t even know about it and didn’t know what to do when they saw it on the ballot. So maybe that leads to the assumption that folks just erred on the side of leaving the state Constitution as it is.

posted by: twoladiesinwaiting | November 8, 2008  7:09am

I have no idea what happened—whether there was significant ground gained by “No on 1” ads, or maybe Mo’s emails to everyone she knows in CT.  ;)  I will tell you that when I heard that my friend’s priest preached about a yes vote last Sunday, I was convinced that the poll was right.  Maybe the poll occurred too early to be accurate, or maybe it even frightened the no folks into additional campaigning?  In any case, I think in the future UCONN should consider leaving the polling to Quinnipiac.  ;)  Oh, and I am tremendously thankful—and heartened.