July 15, 2008


McCain's School Choice Opportunity (CLINT BOLICK, July 15, 2008, Wall Street Journal)

Fifty-two percent of Hispanic voters have a favorable view of school choice, according to the poll, while only 7% had an unfavorable view. When asked about vouchers specifically, 32% expressed a favorable opinion compared to 13% unfavorable.

But where the poll really gets interesting is on school choice as an electoral issue: 65% of those surveyed reported that they would be more likely to support a candidate for office who supports school choice, including 35% who said they would be "much more likely." Only 19% said they would be less likely to vote for a pro-school choice candidate.

These numbers were high regardless of whether the person was of Mexican, Puerto Rican or Cuban descent. They also transcended party affiliation: 67% of Republicans, 70% of independents and 63% of Democrats preferring pro-school choice candidates. And 70% of those who prefer pro-school choice candidates -- including 66% of Democrats -- said they would cross party lines to vote for a candidate who supports school choice over one who opposes it.

Barack Obama has hinted at being open to serious education reform. Before the Wisconsin primary in February, he praised Milwaukee's highly successful school-voucher program. But, facing furious criticism from the establishment, which is disproportionately influential in Democratic politics, he backtracked.

John McCain has been a consistent supporter of school choice and passionately endorsed it during one of the Republican debates, although the issue is far from a mainstay of his campaign. His appointment of pro-school choice former Arizona Superintendent Lisa Graham Keegan as his campaign's top education adviser may signal a new emphasis.

Sen. Obama will count heavily on teachers' unions for support. The unions, though, have nowhere else to go. Hispanics do. If Mr. Obama opposes school choice, he will cede to his opponent a huge opportunity to make inroads among Hispanic voters -- if Sen. McCain seizes it.

...is that the voters who want them are winnable for Maverick.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at July 15, 2008 11:45 AM

I've been really confused by the perception that Obama is sure to win CA. Bush got 45% of the vote (lost by 1.2 million votes), and surely McCain is in a much better position for all sorts of reasons...

Posted by: b at July 15, 2008 12:49 PM

The brown, yellow and white voters that want vouchers are winnable. The black ones, not so much in this election.

Posted by: Patrick H at July 15, 2008 12:50 PM

..Not that I think McCain is likely to win CA, but let's just say that I'm pretty confident that anti-McCain sentiment in CA cannot top their anti-Bush sentiment from 2004, while anti-Obama feeling definitely will top anti-Kerry sentiment among both GOP voters and a massive chunk of the Dem voting base...

Posted by: b at July 15, 2008 12:55 PM

I'm listening to Michael Medved right now and he's going to have a guest (Farid Zacharia of Newsweek I think) that insists McCain will win Washington State in a blow out.

Posted by: Patrick H at July 15, 2008 2:08 PM

A lot of what happens in the Upper Left Washington depends on whether or not Dino Rossi gets re-elected.

(Although I must admit that since I moved away, I have no idea what I'm talking about. Not that I did before...)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at July 15, 2008 3:20 PM

You moved away from the People's Republic of Western WA? That's one less sane person we can count on in the next election. As for Dino, I'm not sure how that campaign is going since I can't bring myself to read the P-I or Times, but Cantwell certainly has angered a lot of people. There's hope, but if it's close, they'll steal it again.

Posted by: Patrick H at July 15, 2008 3:40 PM

School choice can't really be enacted Federally, save for incentives for states to convert, or punishment to a state for NOT converting.

If you want to promote the best statewide school choice plan that likely results in a tax cut for most states, nothing is better than this one.

Promise to double funding for any state that passes it. Of course, anything that leave the "school district" in place as an entity is doomed to fail.

Posted by: Bruno at July 15, 2008 4:15 PM

Yep. Moved to the Mountain Time Zone. Higher, drier, and saner.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at July 15, 2008 6:14 PM

It can easily be enacted federally.

Posted by: oj at July 15, 2008 8:22 PM

It can easily be enacted by a president who gives a damn about vouchers, which Bush most certainly does not.

I am a stooge with three kids in private school who thought the GOP might bring vouchers some day -- like maybe when they were in power. Am I to believe a dottering palsied McCain with will bring vouchers to the hinterlands before he falls asleep in his soup??

Posted by: Palmcroft at July 15, 2008 10:40 PM
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