Ballot initiatives present a different challenge from candidate campaigns. In most cases, voters default to a ‘no’ vote if they are not sure, because they would rather maintain the status quo than risk casting the ‘wrong’ vote if they are at all unsure. For ‘yes’ campaigns, this means proving beyond a reasonable doubt that voters should vote ‘yes.’
GBAO is a national leader on ballot initiative campaigns – supporting ballot initiatives across a wide range of states, as well as conducting training for the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center (BISC) and serving on its research team.
Some examples of our work:
- Raising revenue. Ballot initiatives to raise taxes are some of the hardest challenges progressives face. In 2009 and 2010, we conducted focus groups and polling and tested strategies to help the Oregon progressive community protect vital services like education, public safety, and health care by raising the corporate minimum tax, corporate income tax rates, and income tax rates on the rich. After decades of failed revenue initiatives, political experts thought it would be impossible to make any progress, but through good research and with an exceptional team, we were able to succeed.
- Clean energy. We conducted focus groups and polls for the successful 2008 effort to create a renewable electricity standard in Missouri. Our research helped the campaign tap into voters’ excitement about energy sources like wind and solar power, while making strong arguments for both job creation and environmental protection.
- Defeating regressive and anti-union initiatives. In 2008, we helped the Oregon progressive community develop and execute a strategy to help defeat 10 regressive ballot measures. In addition to accurate polling, we provided strategic insights that helped Defend Oregon go undefeated while conquering conservative efforts to hurt teachers and students, decimate unions, and hamstring government.