Friday, February 02, 2007

Education Amendment: The Quinny Poll

Quinnipiac has the first polling about the AWNN. H/t to BSB who is hosting a copy of the release. You can download it an follow along there. It also has plenty of info about Strickland approval and more. I've picked out the relevent questions and chopped out the crosstabs info, mostly due to Blogger's inability to handle tables. Here are the general results, with my thoughts.

We start out with questions about the quality of Ohio schools, whose results are familiar to anyone who has spent time with the issue. People tend to believe that Ohio schools generally are OK, but their schools are great.

    42. How would you rate the quality of Ohio's public schools - Excellent, good,
    not so good, or poor?

    Tot
    Excellent 5%
    Good 43
    Not so good 29
    Poor 19
    DK/NA 5


    43. How would you rate the quality of the public schools in your community - Excellent, good, not so good, or poor?


    Tot
    Excellent 24%
    Good 44
    Not so good 18
    Poor 12
    DK/NA 3

Then we get general questions about spending which are answered generally in the affirmative:
    44. In general do you think state spending on the public schools in Ohio should be increased, decreased, or kept about the same?

    Tot
    Increased 61%
    Decreased 5
    Same 29
    DK/NA 5

    45. Do you think state spending on the public schools in Ohio's poorer school districts should be increased, decreased, or kept about the same?


    Tot
    Increased 70%
    Decreased 2
    Kept the same 22
    DK/NA 5
We have a question about an abstract constitutional amendment. I would like to have seen a question about this specific AWNN just to see how many are aware of it and, of those, what their opinion is. Hopefully that will go in the field sometime soon.

In any event, the idea of an amendment to increase funding to poor schools is popular:

    46. Would you support or oppose a constitutional amendment to make sure that more money is spent on the public schools in Ohio's poorer school districts?


    Tot
    Support 65%
    Oppose 27
    DK/NA 8
That’s the good news. Here’s the bad news:
    47. The proposed constitutional amendment to increase spending on poorer schools in Ohio does not specify how the state should pay for any additional funds needed. Does that make you more likely to support such a plan, less likely, or doesn't it affect your view of the proposal?

    Tot
    More likely 10%
    Less likely 53
    No effect 31
    DK/NA 5

    49. Under the proposed constitutional amendment, public schools, higher education and local government programs would always be funded first, meaning that in cases of shortages, funding to other state programs, such as health care, law enforcement, or social services would be cut back. Does that make you more likely to support such a plan, less likely, or doesn't it affect your view of the proposal?

    Tot
    More likely 10%
    Less likely 55
    No effect 29
    DK/NA 5
I skipped over Q48 to handle it separately. It illustrates one of the frustration those of us who advocate on this issue experience:
    48. Would you support or oppose an increase in state taxes to make sure that more money is spent on the public schools in Ohio's poorer school districts?

    Tot
    Support 47%
    Oppose 47
    DK/NA 6
Great. You want more money for schools, but you don’t want to pay for it and you don’t want it to come from other big-ticket items in the budget. Yes, and I want a free Maserati and a date with Uma Thurman. Thanks for the guidance, Ohio.

And now a little more good news for amendment proponents. Sort of.

    50. Currently the governor and state legislature decide school funding levels for Ohio public schools. Do you think a special commission that includes members who have worked in the schools should be appointed to make funding decisions for Ohio's public schools or should the governor and legislature continue to do that?


    Tot
    Special commission 64%
    Governor/legislature 27
    DK/NA 9
I say sort of because it reminds me so much of the RON campaign. Polls consistently showed that people favored an independent redistricting commission until the ads started running about the specifics of the actual commission proposed. Then people started to balk.

Polls on ballot issues are of even more limited utility than office campaigns. An issue campaign is very much a conversation about the specifics of the proposal. A question like this is a snapshot of one instant in the conversation, and it’s the instant when people are just starting to hear about the specifics of how the Special Commission will work.


Finally a couple of generic question about the budget which again show the difficulties in campaigning on programs without a tax base.

    53. How serious do you think Ohio's budget problems are - Very serious, somewhat serious, not too serious or not at all serious?

    Tot
    Very serious 43%
    Smwht serious 43
    Not too serious 7
    Not at all serious 1
    DK/NA 6


    54. As you may know Governor Strickland says the state is in worse financial
    condition than he expected when he took office. If it turns out there is a shortage of state funds, would you prefer -- raising taxes to keep state services at their current level or cutting state services to keep taxes at their current level?

    Tot
    Raising taxes 34%
    Cutting services 51
    DK/NA 16
I expect the poll to have a real affect. I expect it will stiffen the resolve of the proponents of the amendment to go forward with the amendment as is. That makes me nervous. We know from this poll that the base for such an amendment is 65%. It doesn’t take much to whittle that down to 49% and the poll gives a fair amount of guidance to those who plan to campaign against.

If you don’t like the way this is playing out, now is the time to say something. The Getting It Right website includes contact information for many of the players. If you have strong opinions about the way this is playing out, use the list. Let these people hear how you feel.

2 comments:

redhorse said...

As we've talked about before, support for amendments general decreases as the details become known.

So, it's not Q46 proponents should focus on, but Q47.

If they firm their resolve to soldier on, they will be ambushed in November.

Jill said...

Thanks as always Pho.