Support for Ed/Med Sales Tax Strong, But Questionable?
The latest Madville Times polls asked you, dear readers, how you will vote on the two referred laws and one voter-initiated measure on the South Dakota ballot. In totally voluntary online polling open from Monday morning to Thursday morning, you cast your votes as follows:
How will you vote on Referred Law 14, the Governor's economic development slush fund?
- No: 82% (118)
- Yes: 18% (26)
- Total Voters: 144
How will you vote on Initiated Measure 15, the state sales tax increase to fund K-12 education and Medicaid?
- Yes: 57% (84)
- No: 43% (63)
- Total Voters: 147
How will you vote on Referred Law 16, the Governor's education reform bill (merit pay, etc.)?
- No: 81% (121)
- Yes: 19% (29)
- Total Voters: 150
I'll grant that the standard margin of error in Madville Times polls is just slightly smaller than the gap between Governor Daugaard's education agenda and sound pedagogical practice. Heck, to weed out my hopeful echo-chamber bias, I'll even spot you all 22 percentage points, the amount by which my poll on the Varilek-Barth primary race overstated Barth's real support. Even if this poll is that wrong, both of Governor Daugaard's referred lawsâ€”his corporate welfare plan and his anti-union, pro-corporate-test merit pay planâ€”go down in November 60â€“40.
But that would also mean the sales tax increase would go down by a similar margin. Nielson Brothers Polling, the only show in town with professional polling data, finds the same Yes-No proportion that I do (note that I didn't offer an "undecided" option). The estimable Mr. Gibilisco guesses that Initiated Measure 15 is a toss-up; I agree... but then I subtract a few points to back-jinx my optimism.
In the real world, I can see all three downward-adjusted results coming true. Referred Law 14 and Referred Law 16 can draw a lot of default "No" votes from folks who (not unreasonably) reject complicated laws that they can't fully grasp in a ten-second scan of the ballot. Attentive Democrats will en bloc against both referred laws as an opportunity to prevent the transfer of millions of dollars to rich GOP-backing corporations and to give Governor Daugaard two black eyes. And some conservative Republicans will bolt from the party line and vote against two referred laws that simply are not conservative.
Meanwhile, Initiated Measure 15 could easily draw a majority "No" from folks who stop reading the ballot at the word "tax." Add some progressives who feel queasy about increasing a regressive tax and let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and IM 15 goes down.
Read those tea leaves, dear neighbors!