Heading into the road bond amendment election Saturday there was very little certainty about the outcome. Supporters were cautiously optimistic, while opponents believed a low turnout would mean a rejection.
The turnout was, in fact, very low—just 11 percent—but the supporters overwhelmed the opponents. The bond passed by a nearly three-to-one margin: 72.82 percent in support and 27.18 percent opposed. 87,751 for the bond and 32,759 against.
Here are some breakouts from the numbers:
–The bond passed in 54 of the state’s 55 counties. Only Ritchie County rejected it 54 percent to 46 percent.
–The bond had the greatest margin of victory in McDowell County with 94 percent support. Of the 1,157 people who voted there, just 73 voted against the bond.
–The bond proved controversial in the Eastern Panhandle. It narrowly passed in Berkeley with 51 percent. Two of the bond’s most vocal opponents, Republican Delegates Mike Folk and Marshall Wilson, are from Berkeley. Jefferson County approved the bond with 56 percent while it passed in Morgan County with 59 percent. In the rest of the Eastern Panhandle (Hampshire, Mineral, Hardy, Grant), the bond passed, but by margins lower than the state average.
–The Kanawha Valley I-64 Corridor was all in on the bond. It passed by a four-to-one margin in Kanawha, Putnam and Cabell Counties. (Kanawha 80-20; Putnam 82-18; Cabell 80-20).
–The bond was popular in the Northern Panhandle where voters in the four counties supported it by an average of 78 percent, five points higher than the state average. The strongest support was in Ohio County were it won with 88 percent.
–Monongalia County was the site of several public meetings where the bond was hotly debated, and there is passed by a wide margin—81 percent. However, the turnout was no higher than the state average, just 11 percent.
–Ten counties approved the bond by 80 percent or higher (Cabell, Kanawha, McDowell, Mercer, Monongalia, Ohio, Putnam, Tucker, Wetzel, Wyoming).
–Fifteen counties approved the bond by 70-79 percent (Boone, Fayette, Greenbrier, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Lewis, Marion, Marshall, Nicholas, Raleigh, Randolph, Roane, Summers, Upshur).
–Seventeen counties approved the bond by 60-69 percent (Barbour, Braxton, Brooke, Clay, Gilmer, Lincoln, Logan, Mineral, Mingo, Monroe, Pleasants, Pocahontas, Preston, Taylor, Tyler, Webster, Wood).
–Twelve counties approved the bond by 51-59% (Berkeley, Calhoun, Doddridge, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Mason, Morgan, Pendleton, Wayne, Wirt).
–The MetroNews West Virginia Poll on the bond was close on the outcome. Our survey taken in August showed 67 percent in support of the bond. An unscientific Twitter survey I took Friday showed that 59 percent of the 414 people who responded thought the bond issue would pass.