That is the tally of “yes” votes for a shareholder proposal that Exxon report each year on how climate-change policies will affect the company. In a COP-21 world, this is not such a theoretical idea anymore.
Proxy votes are not horseshoes, so it’s true, 38% is failure, and most headlines reflected this reality.
In 2003, a similar set of proposals received 21-22% of votes.
In 1998, the number was 4.5%.
The folks at Inside Climate News have put together a terrifically detailed history of shareholder proposals & results for major oil companies here.