So I'm preparing a more detailed analysis of the election for my Umass online journalism course mid-term assignment but figured I would throw out some off-the-cuff analysis for now, as I think both sides were surprised by yesterday's margin of victory (and no, unlike Cherry Hill Golf Course I'm not going to blame it on the weather.)
1) The 31.5% voter turnout was almost exactly the same as the Override that failed in 2007 so it's hard to blame voter turnout (although we usually get almost 80% every four years for the Presidential election.) So why the different outcome this time?
Well first off, there's a big difference between $2.5 million (that failed in 07) and the current $1.68 million. And if you listened to Andy Churchill at the forum last week sponsored by the crusty Gazette/Amherst Bully he made it sound like the $350,000 teacher giveback was already factored into lowering the Override amount. Which of course it did not, although town officials claim they will not use that amount by not taxing to the full extent of the new higher levy (one year only of course.)
And this year the Vote Yes folks were smart enough to order lawn signs (in two different varieties no less.) The Amherst Bulletin ran a rather long rambling editorial supporting the Override but then the Gazette followed suit with a tighter one, probably more widely read than the bloated Bully version.
But either way, two bricks-and-mortar newspapers supporting the Override certainly ads a fair amount of value that would have to be made up with paid advertising.
The Yes folks also raised more than the No folks ($5,000 to $4,000) although I still have not figured out how they spent that last $3,000. And I did notice that their "Vote Yes" lawn signs do not appear as expenditures on the Campaign Finance Report.
Their carefully crafted message got out: The town cut $7 million over the past (I heard either "two years" or "three years" and you could not tell whether they were including this upcoming year's cuts into that figure or not.) But the fact remains, the 2007 $2.5 million Override would have generated almost $8 million by now and over $10 million if you throw in next year.
And if THAT Override passed safe bet there would not have been ANY cuts. Yet somehow the town seems to have survived...