Defend Michigan Democracy
Preventing a supermajority for future tax increases
Goal: To build support against Proposal 5 of 2012 and prevent the initiative from becoming Michigan constitutional law
- 2014 Public Relations Society of America Silver Anvil
- 2013 Central Michigan Public Relations Society of America PACE Awards Pinnacle for Public Affairs Campaign
- 2013 Central Michigan Public Relations Society of America PACE Awards Pinnacle for Video Program
Martin Waymire was retained by Vote No on Prop 5, Defend Michigan Democracy to defeat Proposal 5 on the 2012 statewide general election ballot. The proposed state constitutional amendment would have required a two-thirds “super majority” vote of the Michigan Legislature to raise taxes or fix loopholes. Given initial polling indicated nearly 70% of voters supported Proposal 5, Martin Waymire knew a strategic, targeted and cost-effective campaign would be required to defeat the billionaire-bankrolled proposal.
Our team conducted surveys, polling and focus groups, while also researching states with current super majority voting requirements. These winning messages included: how this amendment would be permanent, take away the voice of the people, create gridlock and allow special interests to control the legislative process, making it nearly impossible for any future tax increases and reforms.
Action Plan & Communication Overview:
Martin Waymire organized a diverse and large coalition to oppose Prop 5, including both Democratic and Republican leaders, business and labor officials and non-profit organizations. The Martin Waymire team heavily relied on its experience with media relations to secure earned media and its own digital and social media expertise. Specifically, we were able to have editorial boards oppose the proposal, with every daily newspaper opposing the proposal. Op-eds and letters to the editors were published. We reached out to editorial pages around the state and nearly every newspaper ended up opposing the proposal. We had weekly news releases and press conferences to provide updates and promote our video campaign.
The video campaign, with a focus on social media, paired “odd couples” of politicians of different parties (GOP and Democrat), business interests (business and labor leaders) and sports team preferences (University of Michigan and Michigan State University) to demonstrate unified support in voting no. The team also created a website and continually maintained the website offering updates, materials and graphics for our many coalition partners to share. Our Facebook campaign received over 8,000 likes, while the opposing campaign did not reach 250 likes.
The campaign was a success, with Prop 5 defeated by a better than two-thirds margin of 69%-31%, winning more than 3 million votes after initial polling was the entire opposite. This was more than any of the other five ballot proposals in 2012 despite being outspent more than 2-to-1 by supporters of Prop 5. This proposal was opposed in all 83 counties in Michigan. The work of our diverse coalition, media relations and digital media helped create this significant margin. Martin Waymire was pleased to receive several awards for its work on this campaign.