Western states, fiscal issues dominated 2010's ballot measure campaign contributions
By Al Ortiz and Bailey Ludlam
Following months of campaigning and petition circulation, the 2010 elections have truly come to a close. Most states have certified the official results for this election cycle. A grand total of 184 ballot questions appeared on 38 statewide ballots. Most focused on fiscal issues and were referred by the state legislature. An estimated 64% of the measures were approved by voters.
In most election cycles, social issues dominate the ballot but not this year. With looming state budget deficits and fiscal constraints, state funding was at the top of the list. A total of 5 issues were found to be the most popular among 2010 ballot measures: taxes, administration of government, elections and campaigns, bond issues and state budgets. But the trend didn't stop there.
An early analysis of 2010's ballot measure campaign contributions revealed that fiscal issues were again at the top. Campaign contribution reports in various states are still in the process of being submitted. As of December 2010 two of the "Big 5" topics resurfaced in the campaign contribution analysis: taxes and state budgets. Specifically, reports showed that the top 5 issues that received the largest number of contributions included: taxes ($148 million), elections and campaigns ($78 million), state budgets ($48 million), energy ($48 million), and redistricting ($37 million).
As of the latest contribution reports, 2010 is estimated to have generated $379 million in funds for ballot measure campaigns. The western states dominated with their high number of measures on the ballot and they did it again when it came to campaign contributions. California ($217 million), Washington ($61 million) and Oregon ($13 million) placed first, second and fifth in the top 5 list of highest statewide campaign donations. Florida ($26 million) and Missouri ($21 million) took third and fourth place.
Top 5 measures:
Bottom 5 measures:
- 2010 ballot measures
- Ballotpedia:Analysis of the 2010 ballot measures
- Chart: Dates of 2010 amendments to state constitutions