Monday, February 23, 2009

Feb. 21 presbytery vote wrapup and comments

I finally received the John Knox vote count yesterday, so here's how the weekend voting shaped up, with comments.

High-level view of Saturday 2/21 votes:
Yes votes: 9
No votes: 6
No-to-yes flips: 4 out of a target 5
Previous "yes" presbyteries held at "yes": 5 out of 5
Nasty surprises: 0
Amazingly positive surprises (e.g. unexpected flips): 0
Annoyances: 4
Bruce's ranking of the weekend: "sunny with occasional clouds"

High-level view of everything so far:
Presbyteries shifted pro-equality: 60
Presbyteries shifted anti-equality: 19
Ratio of pro-equality to anti-equality presbytery shift: 3 to 1 (!)

Total no-to-yes flips: 15
Total yes-to-no flips: 0 (!)
Total "almost flipped" no-to-yes: 4 (voted "no", but very close)
Total no-to-yes flips required to pass 08-B: 41 (not an easy goal)
Percentage of total voting process complete: about 45%

There were no huge surprises this weekend in either direction. There were some disappointments, which I'll flag below, but nothing shocking.

In order from most annoying to most positive, let's take a look.


Tropical Florida
2001-2 01-A: 55 yes, 116 no --> 32.2% YES
2009 08-B: 21 yes, 93 no --> 18.4% YES (-13.7%)

Winning the "most annoying" award for the weekend is Tropical Florida, which shifted nearly 14% anti-equality this year compared to previous voting. I wasn't expecting 08-B to pass Tropical Florida this year, but we should have been able to shift the "yes" percentage up a bit this year instead of losing 14%. This looks to me somewhat like a turnout issue on the pro-equality side, which lost over half of the votes received in 2001-2.

Lake Erie
2001-2 01-A: 37 yes, 65 no --> 36.3% YES
2009 08-B: 32 yes, 58 no --> 35.6% YES (-0.7%)

Lake Erie and The James (below) tie for the category of "annoying because I wanted to see 40% support". Here in Lake Erie we see just under a 1% anti-equality shift, which is basically within statistical noise. We should be able to do better than "no movement" here.

The James
2001-2 01-A: 130 yes, 190 no --> 40.6% YES
2009 08-B: 125 yes, 192 no --> 39.4% YES (-1.2%)

As with Lake Erie, here we see about a 1% anti-equality shift, and this from a presbytery that came in above 40% support 7 years ago. It should be possible to move this presbytery pro-equality, so maybe we should all send them some love, or a PFLAG chapter or something.

2001-2 01-A: 46 yes, 62 no --> 42.6% YES
2009 08-B: 37 yes, 40 no --> 48.1% YES (+5.5%)

Here we have the "close but no banana" situation for the weekend. Although we have a decent 5.5% pro-equality shift, we fell just 4 votes short of winning here. This was the one serious target "FLIP" presbytery that didn't flip. However, it's that much closer to a pro-equality vote if there needs to be a next time.


North Alabama
2001-2 01-A: Voice vote no --> no percentage available
2009 08-B: 30 yes, 47 no --> 38.5% YES

We don't know what the vote might have looked like in 2001-2 had it been counted, but I'll take a starting point of almost 39% pro-equality support in Alabama any day. Given this starting level of support, we should be able to shift North Alabama more pro-equality over time.

2001-2 01-A: 69 yes, 109 no --> 38.8% YES
2009 08-B: 65 yes, 75 no --> 46.4% YES (+7.7%)

This is nearly an 8% pro-equality shift, which is good, though we're not quite there. Sacramento now moves from "long shot" into the "target flip" range.


Greater Atlanta
2001-2 01-A: 235 yes, 283 no --> 45.4% YES
2009 08-B: 243 yes, 233 no --> 51.1% YES (+5.7%)

For me this was a nailbiter, but the More Light supporters here came through great, shifting the vote by nearly 6% to get a 10-vote victory. Greater Atlanta flips from "no" to "yes". The next step is to continue work in this presbytery to strengthen the current level of pro-equality support.

New Hope
2001-2 01-A: 153 yes, 159 no --> 49% YES
2009 08-B: 177 yes, 139 no --> 56% YES (+7%)

New Hope was a "should be easy FLIP" presbytery given its previous vote breakdown, and that turned out to be correct, with a 7% pro-equality shift.

Ohio Valley
2001-2 01-A: 74 yes, 90 no --> 45.1% YES
2009 08-B: 57 yes, 44 no --> 56.4% YES (+11.3%)

Another successful no-to-yes flip. There was some initial mis-reporting of the vote count, but I'm told that I have it correct now. The pro-equality shift, now at over 11%, is larger than originally reported.

Santa Fe
2001-2 01-A: 108 yes, 42 no --> 72% YES
2009 08-B: 110 yes, 23 no --> 83% YES (+11%)

I love these safe-yes presbyteries that demonstrate that even when you're at 72% support, you can still shift another 11% pro-equality and break above 80%. That's not always easy. To 90% and beyond!


2001-2 01-A: 92 yes, 96 no --> 48.9% YES
2009 08-B: 116 yes, 64 no --> 64.4% YES (+15.5%)

Arkansas was another successful no-to-yes flip, plus it shifted nearly 16% pro-equality, which is great. Arkansas here shifts categories from "target FLIP" to "likely safe pro-equality".

Eastern Oregon
2001-2 01-A: 17 yes, 14 no --> 54.8% YES
2009 08-B: 22 yes, 6 no --> 78.6% YES (+23.7%)

This was one of 5 "HOLD" presbyteries that we successfully held as pro-equality. The total vote count here is low so the percentages are much more susceptible to statistical noise, however a nearly 24% pro-equality shift in 7 years is very rare, and great news.

2001-2 01-A: 115 yes, 106 no --> 52% YES
2009 08-B: 125 yes, 53 no --> 70% YES (+18%)

This was another nailbiter "will we hold it?" presbytery which delivered with an amazing 18% pro-equality shift. The presbytery shifts categories from "nailbiter HOLD" to "likely safe pro-equality".

2001-2 01-A: 113 yes, 63 no --> 64.2% YES
2009 08-B: 90 yes, 19 no --> 82.6% YES (+18.4%)

With another 18% shift, Mid-Kentucky apparently wants to compete with Santa Fe for "largest percentage of pro-equality support". Not too many presbyteries are at the 80%+ support level yet, but thanks to Mid-Kentucky we now have one more. Nicely done.

John Knox
2001-2 01-A: 66 yes, 62 no --> 51.6% YES
2009 08-B: 39 yes, 13 no --> 75% YES (+23.4%)

Yet another nailbiter HOLD presbytery delivers with an incredible 23% pro-equality shift. The significant vote count decline from 2001-2 to 2009 is apparently because this year's presbytery meeting was in the middle of a snowstorm. Traditionally the cultural rule has been that "the anti-gay vote will turn out no matter what the weather", however in this case the snowstorm appears to have impacted the anti-equality vote more than the pro-equality vote. Thanks to all the More Light movement supporters who came out in the snow to vote YES on 08-B this year in John Knox.