Good MinnPost Article on Constitutional Amendments' Effect on 2012 Elections. You may have read one of my earlier posts about this year's election wild card in Minnesota. It is difficult to measure the effect that the proposed constitutional amendments will have on legislative races. The latest polls show Senator Klobuchar with a healthy lead over her challenger, State Representative Kurt Bills, and the same poll shows President Obama with a double-digit lead in Minnesota over Mitt Romney. but will "segmented" turnout that may result from voter interest in the proposed constitutional amendments? By "segmented" turnout, I mean will certain segments of the voting population who may not vote in an ordinary election year be more motivated and which, if any, segment, be more motivated to vote?
One of the dynamics not discussed much is that the constitutional amendments, like the Presidential and US Senate races, are statewide in nature. That means that high turnout against the amendments may translate to higher numbers for both the President and Senator Klobuchar. Likewise, motivated "yes" campaigns will cut into the advantages those candidates currently appear to have. That part of the electoral equation is straightforward.
Where the mystery ensues is the possible effect the amendment votes will have on legislative races. Most polls have shown the proposed amendments are trailing in the urban core and a handful of the inner-ring suburbs, but those legislative seats are already held by DFLers so if there is higher turnout as a result of motivated "no" voters, the DFL candidates will only win these relatively "safe" seats by larger margins. The opposite side of the coin--"safe" Republican seats where the amendments will pass comfortably--will likely have the same effect. It is in the "swing" seats--and there are more "swing" seats as a result of the reapportioned legislative districts--where it is difficult to determine the effect of the amendments.
It will boil down to two effects: (1) the get-out-the-vote effort of the pro and con teams on both amendments and (2) whether or not there will be any evidence of ticket-splitters. While the vote on the amendments when considered by the Legislature were pretty much party-line in nature, voters may not mimic the Legislature's voting patterns.
It's just another interesting element in an interesting political year in Minnesota and the nation.
MinnPost link: http://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2012/10/will-constitutional-amendments-be-key-deciding-close-legislative-elections