Maine same-sex marriage vote down to the wire


US election results today have seen Republicans win Democratic governorships in New Jersey and Virginia, and independent Mike Bloomberg reelected as Mayor of New York by a surprisingly narrow margin.

Two races remain close and worth watching. In Maine, “Question 1” is asking voters whether they support a new law on same-sex marriage. As it stands the “no” position (in favour of same-sex marriage) has a very slight lead.

No – 112,421
Yes – 112,245

38% reporting

Meanwhile, in New York’s 23rd congressional district, Democrat Bill Owens is leading ahead of Conservative Doug Hoffman:

Bill Owens (D) – 47,826 – 49.1%
Doug Hoffman (C) – 44,349 – 45.5%
Dede Scozzafava (R) – 5,294 – 5.4%

67% reporting

You can follow both votes, and a bunch of other votes around the US, at the New York Times website.

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  1. Irritating about the governorships, but great (and slightly surprising!) to see Owens leading in NY 23. Scozzafava was an interesting candidate to pick – but the more interesting aspect is how the conservative side of the GOP is in the ascendancy at the moment, and able to essentially anoint/destroy candidates. Alarming for the quality of public debate, to say the least.

    The Maine vote is the one to watch, though. Will make a big difference to marriage equality morale, especially in New England (last remaining holdout: Rhode Island), as well as the obvious effects on couples there. With 87% the Yes vote is winning, everybody get your fingers crossed that the situation changes soon!

  2. Wasn’t Washington supposed to pass the domestic partnerships one fairly easily? Looks like the cons have done a good job of getting out the vote. ARGH.

  3. Also – 5/51 seats in the NY City Council go Republican. That is ridiculous. Do we have anything like that in Aus in terms of political domination of an area?

  4. Interesting though that a regulated distribution of Marijuana is approved in Maine while they reject gay marriage. Clearly different politics happening on those issues.

  5. @Josh Wyndham-Kidd The ALP dominates Wollongong & Shellharbour pretty strongly. @ the 2007 election the strongest ALP booth favoured them 93% tpp. Their weakest booth was still favouring them 58% tpp. The ALP has held Cunningham for 58 of the last 60 years.

  6. Rob, there’s a difference of scale between NYC and Wollongong. A better comparison would be with cities like Sydney or Melbourne. In the US the Democrats have pretty much every seat in New York City and Los Angeles and other big cities like that. There is not a single Republican in the House of Representatives from New England.

    In contrast, Sydney and Melbourne have heartland areas for both major parties and swing back and forth. The same is true of cities like London and Auckland.

  7. Another point: now that the Dems have won NY-23 they hold 27/29 seats in New York state, the only two the Republicans hold are the 3rd district, on Long Island, and the 26th district, near the Canadian border at Niagara Falls.

  8. Just a slight difference in scale Ben 🙂
    But, if we are looking for Aussie cities/areas which are dominated spatially and uniformly by one party then ALP cities like Canberra, Newcastle and Wollongong or the NAT/Lib towns out west are the closest analogue we’ve got.

  9. Settle down boys, it’s all a matter of how to interpret Josh’s question. Strictly speaking there is of course not really any comparison that can be made. If you want to look at both proportions of the vote, and political dominance in terms of seats held, then I’d have to agree with Rob that Wollongong is probably the closest comparison one can find in Aus, albeit on a totally different scale of course. When they had councils (ie before Wollongong and Shellharbour councils got sacked) the ALP had a stranglehold on them (primarily due to the undemocratic non-proportional voting system used to elect them), and the ALP comfortably hold all the state and federal seats in the area. Ben is obviously correct that it is not a good comparison, but if the question is, what is the best comparison one can find in Aus, that’s a good answer.

    Expanding the parameters a little more, we do have one local council in NSW where all the seats are held by the ALP – Botany Bay Council in Sydney. This is partly because, as they use the same undemocratic voting system used in Wollongong and Shellharbour, no one but the ALP bothered nominating at the last election, so the Labor candidates were elected to every seat unopposed.

    Outside the US, the example I keep thinking of in the English-speaking world where one party dominates an area is the Conservatives in Alberta (at the national level at least, I don’t know about their provincial elections).

  10. Um, stranglehold on the Councils? Not in Wollongong – they lost the mayoralty a number of times (to Independents) and the last ALP Mayor of Wollongong was Harrison – who was kicked out of the ALP for being a dodgy lawyer. On the Council in recent years they were finding their support steadily eroded. But this isn’t between ALP & Libs, but Greens (who could pull a sizeable vote but not elect due to the 2-person wards) and Independents (most of whom were left leaning). This was most prominent in the Northern Illawarra, although Kiril Jironowski (one of the one’s deemed corrupt by ICAC) came very close to losing the last time he was up for election down in Port Kembla.

    The same goes for an area like Randwick, once the stronghold of the ALP Right. They may hold the State & Federal seats, but the Council is pretty divided. Botany Bay Council – now theres an ALP stanglehold! Western Sydney between Parramatta & Campbelltown is where there is the strongest votes, but as with all these areas there are now inroads being made by Libs & Independents. The other thing of course is that with such different electoral systems it is really very hard to compare the US & Australia.

  11. Thanks Stewart, yes, Shellharbour may be more ALP-dominated, but yes of course, Wollongong hasn’t been. I am completely wrong there.

  12. I don’t think there’s really any value in trying to compare NY City to any individual LGA in Australia. Not because our population is so much smaller than the US, but because LGAs are not an entire metropolitan area in their own right. I would argue that the equivalent area to compare to NY City is the area stretching from Newcastle to Shellharbour. There are some suburbs and centres which are dominated by one party or the other. But nothing like the sort of domination seen in the US.

  13. Absolutely, but I assume the focus of Josh’s question was on the dominance aspect rather than the size of the area. Obviously nowhere in Aus can be compared with NYC.

  14. Do you notice the ABSENCE of the socalled great Barack Obama from both Maine and Washington State! User of gay voters! Traitor!

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