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Santa Maria Energy oil well.

Lyz Hoffman

Santa Maria Energy oil well.


Measure P Postmortem

Where the Divisive Ballot Measure Did the Best and the Worst


Whether the proponents of Measure P come back with a revised version of their proposal to ban new fracking, acidizing, and cyclic steam injection wells in 2016 remains the source of much speculation, with a poll on the group’s Facebook page seeking input. Many are hopeful that the initiative could fare better in a presidential election year. But judging from the nearly 62 percent of voters who said “no” to the measure, the battle could still be tough, as Measure P lost in all five supervisorial districts and won only in the City of Santa Barbara and UCSB/Isla Vista.

Separated by only four votes, the 1st District ​— ​which includes Carpinteria, Summerland, Montecito, and some of the City of Santa Barbara ​— ​came the closest of all five to supporting the measure and could end up flipping once the remaining 5,000 provisional ballots are counted by December 2. Overall, the 1st District saw 9,412 people vote against Measure P and 9,408 vote for it, with about 44 percent of the entire district casting ballots. In the 2nd District ​— ​home to portions of the cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta, and the unincorporated area in between ​— ​Measure P was only approved by 46 percent of voters, and only 46 percent of the district’s 49,084 registered voters showed up. Only 34 percent of 3rd District residents ​— ​who live from Isla Vista to the Santa Ynez Valley ​— ​turned up to the polls, but two-thirds of them voted against Measure P. The 4th and 5th Districts (which include Lompoc, Orcutt, and Santa Maria) made their opinions on the initiative the clearest, with 81 percent and 79 percent of voters, respectively, vetoing the ban.

Measure P experienced its greatest support from the student community, as 80 percent of UCSB and Isla Vista voters checked “yes.” That support echoed into the City of Santa Barbara, where 53 percent of voters voted in favor. But the measure failed to resonate with a majority of voters in the South County jurisdictions of Carpinteria (52 percent against), Goleta (57 percent against), and Montecito (60 percent against). It was also soundly defeated in Solvang (71 percent), Buellton (75 percent), Lompoc (76 percent), Orcutt (84 percent), and Santa Maria (79 percent).

Just more than 55 percent of Santa Barbara County voters participated in this election, a lower turnout than the past two gubernatorial elections in 2010 and 2006, which both drew rates of 68 percent. But June primary elections dating back to 2006 came in much lower, ranging from 38 percent in 2014 to 49 percent in 2006. Overall, 108,728 cards were cast. The governor’s race garnered the most votes (106,268), but Measure P was the second-most popular, with 105,624 total votes. The congressional race, in which Representative Lois Capps kept her seat over challenger Chris Mitchum, earned a third-best 105,601 votes in Santa Barbara County.

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