Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How many presbyteries? The importance of voting trends

On a mailing list, somebody asked:

> how many non-supportive presbyteries need to flip to PRO for Amendment 08B to pass?

My math says that 46 presbyteries voted "yes" on 01-A in 2001-2, so it would take an additional 41 presbyteries shifting votes from "no" or "no action" to "yes" to get the necessary 87 votes to pass 08-B.

That's a very difficult voting cliff to scale in just 7 years, which is one reason why I feel it's important to track not just the resulting presbytery vote totals, but the percentage shifts within each presbytery.

The "no" votes start from a very strong base -- there are simply a lot of presbyteries that voted under 35% for equality in 2001-2, and it's very difficult to move from 35% equality support to 51% support in 7 years. The good news is that we're seeing a lot of the low-30's presbyteries become high-30's or even low-40's in terms of pro-equality support, which makes them easier to get to 51% if there needs to be a "next time".

My hope is that we'll at least make it to >50% of all individual presbytery voters voting "yes", even if 08-B doesn't make it. That would be the equivalent of "winning the popular vote but losing the electoral college vote" and would be a huge symbolic victory for equality (don't discount the value of symbolism). So it's important for everybody to work on "yes" voter turnout and persuasion no matter where you are.