The most consequential election for the progressive arm of the El Paso voters was the May 6 elections where Proposition K, the Climate Charter was on the ballot. Over 81% of the voters rejected the Climate Charter that pitted the business community, led by the El Paso Chamber of Commerce, against El Paso’s progressive movement, led by Austin-based Ground Game Texas. What the result overwhelmingly proved is that the progressive voter does not exist in El Paso.
Proposition K was a test bed by Ground Game Texas to test whether municipally led elections can be used for climate legislation. Ground Game Texas used El Paso as a guinea pig to test whether progressive issues could be legislated locally rather than regionally or country wide. Ground Game Texas also used the same tactic in San Antonio with a measure that sought to decriminalize abortion and low-level marihuana through local legislation. It also failed with 70% of the ballots cast in San Antonio opposed to Ground Game Texas’ use of local legislation to push forth their version of public policy.
Ground Game Texas was founded in 2021 by Julie Oliver and Mike Siegel, two former Democratic Party congressional candidates. With an initial investment of $1 million, the two founders sought to organize voters “on progressive issues.” Among the leaders of the efforts in El Paso includes former mayoral candidate and current candidate for District 2, Verónica Carbajal and former presidential candidate and congressman Beto O’Rourke. Carbajal wrote a guest editorial in the El Paso Inc. on April 30, 2023 urging voters to support Proposition K.
We need your support to keep delivering the news and information that is important to you. We are seeking to raise $5,000 to cover our costs through the end of the year. We would not be asking if we did not need your support.
Rather than enact progressive legislation nationally, Ground Game Texas sought to prove that progressive legislation could be enacted via piecemeal legislation through local laws until the progressive agenda reaches critical mass across the nation making it the defacto standard for public policy.
What the votes in May proved was that the Climate Charter was not modeled for El Paso’s public policy but rather as part of a greater agenda of imposing progressive legislation at the local level. Although the petition organizers collected 39,156 signatures, those signatures did not translate into votes on Election Day. Less than 10,000 voters voted in favor of Proposition K.
Supporters of Proposition K argue that progressive agendas fail because of special interests funding, the campaign finance reports show that not only was Proposition K pushed forth by Ground Game Texas, a non-profit located in Austin, but of the almost $200,000 in campaign contributions reported earlier this year show that only two El Pasoans contributed towards the effort for around $80. The majority of funding for Proposition K support came from outside of El Paso.
Voter turnout in the May 6 election, where Proposition K appeared, was 11.72%, which is less than the average voter turnout in presidential elections. More ballots, 49,976, were cast on the Proposition K measure than the other ten measures on the ballot suggesting that Proposition K was the likely driver for El Paso voters in that election.
The polarizing effects on the electorate caused by Proposition K has provided an opportunity to granularly model the likely El Paso voter. Last month, El Paso News made its extensive voter modeling available to the community. Our voter modeling models El Paso voters on several factors including public policy issues, education and other demographic and social issues. The voter models are used to predict which voter is likely to vote in an upcoming election and which candidate they will likely support.
Predictive models require constant updating and need to be tested to see how accurate the predictive models are. Proposition K provided an excellent test bed to test our voter models based on real world results that considered the progressive agenda factor in recent elections.
The Likely El Paso Proposition K Voter
Because we had a model of almost 90,000 El Paso voters prior to Election Day, we were able test our model with the Proposition K voters who cast a vote on May 6. Of the almost 90,000 voters we had modeled before the first ballot was cast, about 37,000 of our modeled voters cast a ballot in that election. Of our voters modeled, about 42% voted in the election.
It impossible to know how each voter voted but through applying our voter models to the electorate that cast a ballot on May 6 we both validate our models, and we can further finetune our voter models.
We modeled the typical El Paso voter as someone who prefers to vote during the early voting period (62%) which allows consultants and the news media to issue predictions to voting results shortly after 7:00pm on Election Day when the early voting numbers are released. In most cases, candidates leading in early voting win the election by the time the final ballot is counted.
Although it is assumed that the El Paso electorate is Democrat, our voter models show that El Paso’s likely voters are 62% Democrat, 35% Republican and 3% Independent voters. As expected, women in El Paso outvote their male counterparts 52% to 48%.
According to our voter models, the likely El Paso voter is 1% Asian, Black, or Other with 65% identifying as Hispanic/Latino and 32% identifying as White.
Although El Paso is often considered a low wage city with low college attainment levels, our modeled likely El Paso voter is highly educated with 22% holding a graduate-level education and another 36% holding a college diploma. Highschool educated voters account for 33% of the likely electorate.
The income levels of the likely El Paso voters are 38% having household incomes of up to $50,000 with 21% earning between $50,000 and $75,000. Those earning between $75,000 and $100,000 comprise about 15% of the likely El Paso voters. The likely voter in households earning more than $100,000 account for 23% of the El Paso likely voter. Married (55%) El Paso likely voters outperform their unmarried counterparts.
The modeling remains consistent in that the younger El Paso electorate is unlikely to vote although they are likely to rally behind progressive agendas and collect/sign petitions for progressive causes. Nonetheless they are unlikely to translate their movements into votes on Election Day.
Moreover, the typical likely El Paso voter is educated and has a higher income than the typical non-voter in El Paso.
Although predictive voter modeling cannot identify a specific voters’ ballot, it has enough data to predict the likely vote result. Generally, voting models like these are available to political consultants and their campaigns for fees, El Paso News’ Open Data Project allows any El Paso voter to apply our voter models to any El Paso voter in real time.
Predictive voter models coupled with telephone numbers, email addresses, residential addresses and social media footprints allows political campaigns to specifically target voters based on how likely they are to vote and for which candidate.
Each election cycle, El Paso News publishes the names of the political candidates that the technology company owned by Martín Paredes provides branding and technology services to. Although not required to, we provide this list to our readers for transparency purposes. Clients of Cognent have no influence over the stories we choose to cover. Click here for more details.