Eyman is wrong: Voters have repeatedly agreed with Gov. Chris Gregoire’s fiscal positions when it counts

Rethinking and Reframing

In his latest diatribe to supporters, journalists, and elected leaders, initiative profiteer Tim Eyman trumpets a new SurveyUSA poll that he says proves the governor is unpopular. Eyman’s subject line said it all: “RE:  Gregoire pushes for higher taxes — new poll shows voters HATE her now more than ever — coincidence?  No way!”

The problem with Eyman’s line of argument is that when election time has rolled around (which is when voters’ opinions actually count), the people have repeatedly sided with the governor, sensibly sanctioning her fiscal positions in statewide votes. Let’s review:

  • In 2005, KVI radio hosts John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur (who no longer have their own shows on KVI) spearheaded a right wing initiative to repeal the increase in the gas tax that Governor Gregoire had fought so hard for. They succeeded in getting Initiative 912 on the ballot. Many people, including Tim Eyman, confidently predicted I-912’s passage. But instead, voters defeated it.
  • In 2006, Dennis Falk sponsored another right wing initiative to wipe out the estate tax, which Governor Gregoire and the Legislature had courageously restored and dedicated to the Education Legacy Trust. Voters again said no to the right wing and turned Initiative 920 down in a landslide.
  • In 2008, the people of Washington reelected Governor Gregoire over Dino Rossi, and said no to Tim Eyman’s Initiative 985 by large margins. I-985, which Gregoire opposed, would have opened high occupancy vehicle lanes to everyone during rush hour, and would have redirected revenue to road expansion in the future.
  • And this year, voters resoundingly rejected Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1033, which Gregoire publicly opposed and spent a significant amount of time and energy fighting behind the scenes.

Polls are snapshots in time: an attempt to gauge public opinion. They give political insiders something to talk about, but are not conclusive.

The only polls that ultimately matter take place for a few weeks in the autumn every year. Considering that Governor Gregoire’s record in elections is better than Tim Eyman’s, he is not qualified to claim that he understands the pulse of the people of Washington better than she does.

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