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Making Sense of the California Voter

(Both are still too close to call, but Proposition 19 was ahead while Proposition 15 was trailing as of early Thursday.)

Of course there isn’t one single explanation and no two voters are alike.

But Mr. McCuan said that in the absence of clear partisan priorities, voters are left to gauge for themselves which initiatives reflect their values.

[Here’s what’s at stake in the key propositions and Congressional races.]

And in the privacy of the (proverbial) voting booth, what he referred to as a kind of “Jekyll and Hyde” California voter often emerges.

The California voter has “historically wanted good roads, good schools.”

At the same time, Mr. McCuan said, “there’s this notion of, ‘Don’t tax me, tax the person behind the tree.’”

In other words, California voters may, by and large, want well-funded schools and infrastructure and adequate housing for all. They simply aren’t willing to tax themselves to pay for those things.

[Read more about Proposition 15.]

That may explain support for Proposition 19, which would give Californians who are 55 or older a property tax break when buying a new home, and opposition to Proposition 15, which would raise property taxes for some commercial property owners.

Then in some cases there’s just a lot of money.

Proposition 22, the measure that gig companies like Uber and Lyft spent more than $200 million to get passed, bombarding voters with push alerts, mailers and ads assuring voters that drivers preferred to remain independent contractors rather than employees, “set a new threshold,” Mr. McCuan said.

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