Monday, July 31, 2006

Pre-Primary polling

J.D points to the third SurveyUSA Poll on the Kansas electorate. Not much change on the most interesting issue, support for ID candidates remains decent, though my constant refrain about the poorly worded question persists. There are no candidates who oppose teaching alternatives to evolution on principle, some just want theories taught in science class to have scientific content. Independent support for ID candidates dropped noticeably (though with a 10.6% margin of error for the subsample, who really knows?) while other groups just seemed to drift.

Support for safe sex remains a strong issue, with 2/3 of voters preferring candidates who won't hide information from kids. Interestingly, Republican preferences flip-flopped, with a plurality now favoring abstinence only after two months of support for comprehensive sex-ed. Apparently someone's getting a memo around. Independents compensated by moving heavily toward comprehensive sex ed.

As far as what will drive people's votes for governor, economic issues still lead the pack and moral issues and character continue to trade places, with moral issues edging out character. Republicans follow that general trend, Democrats are consolidating on economic issues, while Independents are finding less clarity, with all four options too close to distinguish. Economic issues had been the clear leader, but now are only one point above "other." Moderates are seeing a similar shift. That should worry team Sebelius, since having those moderates on the same wavelength as Democrats made outreach easier. I expect this is just a result of election-season browbeating about abortion, and will settle down once the campaign starts in earnest.

A funding cut now ties with "other" as the best way to fund schools, with consolidation falling out of the running. That trend is the same among Republicans. Democrats still favor "other" with cutting funding close behind. Support for raising taxes ticked up, making this a trickier minefield for Democrats. Independents have been shifting away from "other" and to cutting funding, with consolidation and tax hikes holding at low support.

Education funding has taken the lead of issues that will determine people's votes. Interest in health care is falling (which is a shame, the issue needs to be addressed), while concern about abortion regulations is rising. Predictably, the latter is driven largely by Republicans, and moderate concern about abortion remains miniscule.

These results only inform us marginally about the primaries today. There's almost no light between the major candidates for the Republican nomination for Governor, and the Board of Education election will not hinge on the question SUSA asked about evolution (because it's framed wrong). The sex ed question is better phrased, and seems to give some comfort to the moderate candidates.

Here's hoping.