We’re very excited to report that the California Alliance Action Fund fielded 27 individual organizations, organized in 12 anchor groups working in 10 counties throughout the state and contacted 226,110 voters representing 174,084 individuals and 124,982 supporters of its agenda over a six week period.
CALIFORNIA BUCKS THE TREND
While the results of the national elections were sobering, the outcome of the California Elections is encouraging. Progressives won all major statewide offices. And, while a number of reactionary initiatives were passed, our movement can claim victory on two critical propositions:
- The defeat of Proposition 23 which was oil companies’ attempt to suspend California air pollution control laws using jobs as a carrot. A powerful coalition of environmental, labor, social justice, and segments of the business community came together to counter the multiple millions of dollars spent by oil companies. Of particular note was, in addition to the traditional statewide media campaign, robust grassroots voter engagement field programs aimed at new and occasional voters in communities of color.
- The passage of Proposition 25 reducing the legislature vote requirement to pass a state budget from two-thirds to a simple majority. Progressives have been trying to pass this reform for over a decade. Majority vote on the budget is one major building block in solving the perpetual budget crisis in the state.
COMMUNITIES OF COLOR MADE THE DIFFERENCE
One clear explanation for the results in California is the changing California electorate: While the California electorate was still majority white (62%) it was less white than four years ago (66% in 2006). The Latino share of the electorate was at an all time high this election (22% vs. 20% in 2006), and the African American percent of the state electorate almost doubled (9% vs. 5% in 2006). This change represents hundreds of thousands of new voters of color who did not vote in the 2006 California gubernatorial election. The impact of more people of color voters on the governor and senate races is clear when looking at the exit poll data. While white voters supporter Brown by 46% and Boxer by 43%, people of color support for Brown ranges from 55 to 77% and for Boxer 59 to 80%.
The changes in the California electorate were not accidental. They were the result of intensive field programs by organized labor, environmental organizations, and social justice groups. Preliminary reports indicate that these field programs directly engaged (by phone and/or door-to-door) over 3 million voters (the current reported overall voter turn out in California is 9 million).
THE CALIFORNIA ALLIANCE WILL BE THE TIPPING POINT
This election represented a new level of scale and impact for the California Alliance through the California Alliance Action Fund:
- 27 individual organizations, organized in 12 anchor groups working in 10 counties throughout the state participated in the November 2010 Civic Engagement Program.
- The California Alliance Action Fund contacted 226,110 voters representing 174,084 individuals and 124,982 supporters of its agenda over a six week period.
- The California Alliance Action Fund identified supporters represented 3.2% of the 3.8 million yes votes for Proposition 25 statewide, and 2.7% of the no votes for Proposition 23 statewide. Within the 10 counties covered by the Alliance groups the Alliance identified voters were 5% of the Proposition 25 vote and 4% of the Proposition 23 vote.
We are proud to report that the Alliance made an important contribution to the electoral shift witnessed on November 2nd:
- Of the 174,084 individual voters engaged by the California Alliance groups over the 6 weeks leading up to the election the demographics the overwhelming majority (67%) were people of color.
- Nearly all (92%) of the voters the Alliance spoke with were voters who recently registered to vote and “occasional” voters, who vote in presidential elections but rarely vote in mid-terms. Engaging these new and occasional voters are a key component of our long-term strategy for achieving systemic tax reform.
- 27% of voters engaged were born outside the U.S. while just 19% of registered voters are immigrants.
2011 AND BEYOND
Our long-term goal is to identify 500,000 new and occasional voters in 12 counties who support systemic tax reform by 2012. Cumulatively in the four Civic Engagement Programs the California Alliance has done in the course of one year: 386,449 individual voters have been in engaged across 10 counties with 264,650 being identified as supporters of the Alliance’s policy agenda. This means that in just one year, the Alliance is halfway towards its goal.
There is still much work to be done:
- The overall composition of California’s electorate still doesn’t match its population demographics.
- There was no appreciable change in young voters participation. It was 13% of who voted in 2006 and 12% on November 2nd.
- The dominant theme in all the Propositions results (except 23) is still lack of trust in government. We still have a lot of on this front.
But the growing strategic cooperation and collaboration among key sectors of the progressive movement is encouraging. And the scale that was achieved this election cycle demonstrates the potential power and impact of the strategy that the California Alliance and its partners are pursuing.