After nearly a month of counting ballots, the final results for Metro’s Measure M sales tax increase were certified on Friday by the Los Angeles County Registrar, with M being approved with 71.15 percent of the vote. M needed approval from 66.6667 percent of votes cast in order to be approved. In other words, it won by almost 4.5 percentage points.
Measure M’s approval rate was also higher than the previous Metro half-cent sales tax measures — Measure R in 2008, which was approved with 67.93 percent of the vote. Measure J (a proposed 30-year extension of Measure R) narrowly failed in 2012 with a 66.11 percent approval rate.
One possible explanation for M doing better than either R or J: more people voted in this past election with 3,176,029 votes cast in the M election compared to 3,001,783 votes in the R election and 2,863,951 in the J election. That suggests that the more votes cast in left-leaning L.A. County, the better a transportation sales tax measure will do.
That said, I found the results somewhat surprising: going into Election Day I figured M had a good chance of being approved, albeit I thought it would either narrowly win or narrowly lose, much like its R and J predecessors.
I’m curious to hear readers’ take on the results and why they think M managed to get 71.15 percent ‘yes’ votes. I’ll float one theory: the campaign overseen by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti raised enough money to ensure M had a lot of visibility on TV and radio and even outdoor advertising. Given a very crowded ballot, I thought that likely helped a lot.
Finally, to repeat something I wrote last month: whether you voted for M or not, I truly do hope that in time all residents who pay the tax come to be pleased with the transportation improvements made possible by the sales tax measure. The spending plan for the ballot measure and the project and program list is at the bottom of the post. Click here for project descriptions.
And here are the results of the 2008 election for Measure R and the 2012 election for Measure J: