This was a very painful loss. The simple fact is that their margins were wider in the places they needed to win, and our winning margins were either smaller than we projected, or we lost bigger in places where we needed to keep it much closer. Clearly, there is town-by-town, city-by-city analysis we need to do and much of that is already underway.
Nonetheless, permit me to make a few observations.
First and foremost, marriage equality is a complex issue. Many people are conflicted and we know from national and state specific polling that it is very difficult to move people on this issue, particularly in the confines of short campaigns.
Secondly, our opponents capitalized on that conflict by constant distortion and misrepresentation. It reminds me of the movie, Supersize Me: why order a midsize coke when you can have a giant coke? Their bar is much lower than ours. They only have to plant and feed the doubt. And it is difficult to fully restore any reputation, be it an issue or character, that's plagued by constant doubt.
Remember, this was a campaign where we got up on the air first and where we put genuine Maine values as the context for supporting marriage equality. .....
But here's where it gets tricky and here's where we need some answers over the next several weeks or months. It's clear that polling research, both ours and others, did not capture the intensity of Yes on 1 support. Polling cannot predict turnout and the impact of Tuesday's turnout was counterintuitive. We weren't alone: our opponents, political observers and field operatives all believed a high turnout benefited the NO on 1 vote. With voting approaching 60% in Maine, it's clear that wasn't true.
It may turn out to be simply this: that by moving this basic premise of equality from the sink hole of catastrophic defeat state after state, year after year, to within striking distance of a win, that we are almost to the finish line. This tide is turning and you can tell by the histrionics from our opponents, from their "gathering storm."
It appears that the Bradley effect is alive and well: that is, polling on this subject routinely understates the opposition to equality. Well, at least they are ashamed to tell the pollsters that they hate us. I suppose that's progress of a sort.