- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It turns out 2014 was a good year to run a ballot proposition: More than two-thirds of the 146 state measures that went before voters Tuesday were approved, the best winning percentage of the 21st century.

The Initiative & Referendum Institute reported Wednesday that 70 percent of this year’s initiatives passed, with minimum-wage initiatives scoring a perfect five for five and pro-marijuana measures succeeding in Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C.

The second-highest approval rating came in 2002 and 2004, when 67 percent of initiatives were approved.

One factor in this year’s successful run is that there just weren’t that many ballot measures. The 146 measures represented a 17 percent drop from November 2012. The total was also far lower than the recent high of 235 propositions in 1998 and the lowest of this century in an even-year election.

The smaller number may have allowed advocates pushing for multi-state measures like minimum wage and marijuana to focus their resources on more winnable ballot fights.

Of the 146, 98 were approved, 42 were rejected and six have yet to be decided, according to the institute, located at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.

The exception to the trend: anything to do with increasing taxes. Voters in the 15 states with tax-related propositions on their ballots defeated tax hikes and passed tax-limitation proposals, the institute reported.

Although the marijuana and minimum-wage measures were expected to help mobilize more liberal voters, the initiatives weren’t enough to help Democrats avoid a losing night. The five states where voters approve minimum-wage increases are Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota.

“Democrats did not do particularly well in any of the minimum wage states, suggesting the spillover effects were minor or nonexistent,” according to the institute’s analysis. “This reinforces the observation that ballot propositions have their own dynamics and rarely spill over onto candidate elections.”

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