Since Washington voters approved the privatization the sale of hard liquor in 2011, the Oregon grocery industry, with help from national liquor interests, has pushed to do the same.
In 2014, proponents of privatization failed to qualify for the ballot, despite spending $2.5 million. Earlier this year, they pulled the plug on a second attempt, after spending $1 million.
Today, the Washington D.C.-based Alcohol Research Group, released new research into how consumers in Washington state feel about privatization.
The answer: not good.
Researchers found that many people who voted for privatization now have buyers remorse—they are far more likely to express misgivings with the state's new approach to liquor sales than people who voted against the privatization.
"Our study not only shows that many people changed their minds about privatization, but more importantly, those who now say they wish they had voted no might have been a large enough group to defeat the measure in 2011, had they known its real impact at the time," said lead author Meenakshi Sabina Subbaraman, Ph.D., a biostatistician with the Alcohol Research Group in a statement.
There are now nearly five times as many stores selling liquor in Washington as there were before privatization but the state also has the nation's highest liquor taxes—and consumers apparently like higher prices less than convenience.