Bringing political science findings to the blogging world can often make me feel like a killjoy and a scold: I’m always saying that debates, or candidate foibles, or even money spent on elections just don't matter nearly as much as most pundits believe they do.
So I'm sort of happy to be able to speculate that the oodles of outside money being spent on Issue 2 in Ohio, on the ballot next week, seems to be the kind of thing that should matter. Greg Sargent has all the details; this is about anti-labor measures passed by the Governor John Kasich and the newly Republican legislature there.
The logic here is that money should matter more when partisan cues are not present (so in primaries and ballot measures), and presumably also in lower-profile elections, when there's little information available other than in TV ads, mailers, and other campaign-provided materials. It's also an off-year election, so presumably turnout should be very low (and therefore large percentages of the money spent will be entirely wasted on non-voters!); that could mean that voter intensity matter more than it would in a higher-turnout context, which again, I would think, would make campaign spending relatively more important.
However, I know a lot less about money in state and local elections than about money in federal elections, and a quick peek around didn't really support that intuition all that well -- from what I saw, money may not matter all that much in ballot measures after all. For what it's worth, the other thing I came across is that money seems to matter more on the "no" side, which in Ohio is the anti-union side (at least I think it is).
So perhaps even here, money won't matter that much -- and certainly less than some would have us believe.