So the term limits reform passed and the tobacco tax narrowly failed.  The Secretary of State has the county-by-county results which are interesting.

My prediction that it would win after the initial absentee counts gave it a small lead turned out to be dead wrong.  Traditionally, in statewide races, the conservative causes tend to come out early with big leads as absentees and rural district returns come in first.  The leads tend to erode once the urban votes start coming in, and generally speaking I think a lib candidate or cause is in pretty good shape if it’s within 10 pointsby the time 10 to 15 percent of the vote is counted.

But last night, the prop 29 lead actually eroded as the night went on.  Note that it lost by a slim margin in Los Angeles County (by almost exactly the same margin as statewide), which is fairly “blue.”  I started to talk about this last night in theory, and it came true even though I didn’t believe it would.  Basically, I’m willing to bet that as a regressive tax is was less popular in working class African American and Latino communities, who are probably tired of footing bills as the upper classes are taxed less and less.

Meanwhile, it passed handily in San Francisco (which is almost entirely gentrified), and barely in Humboldt County (where progressives have a libertarian streak that probably played into the mix as well).

So maybe middle class progressives were on the wrong side of the class issue in this one.

What surprised me was that the term limits reform measure passed handily everywhere, blue counties and red.  I think maybe the rural counties have caught on that term limits, at least in prior form, weren’t helping them out.  We’ll see in a decade or so whether this measure makes a difference.

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