Support for charter school referendum falling?

A recent poll shows markedly lower support Georgia Charter School Polls for the November charter school referendum than polls in March and July, which were already down from January. At this rate, the charter school referendum can lose as badly in November as T-SPLOST did in July. Maybe people are catching on that diverting local taxes to control by a state appointed body is a bad idea, especially this time when the money would end up going to private profit.

Georgia Family Council wrote, presumably in January, Poll Shows Support for Charter School Changes,

On January 24, the Georgia Charter School Association and My School, My Choice Georgia held a news conference on Capitol Hill to release the results of a new study regarding public school choice….

The new numbers showed that 52 percent of voters are dissatisfied with the public system as it currently stands. A whopping 72 percent feel that a group other than local school boards should be able to authorize charter schools, the basis for HB 881. Moreover, Georgia voters tend to support a “money follows the child” approach to charter school funding.

So there’s a baseline for January for what proponents of charter schools claimed: 72% support for something very like the charter school referendum that ended up on the November ballot.

Or not. That writeup includes a link to, but that domain is no longer registered. This is probably it over on the snazzy new website. The writeup doesn’t mention 72%, and does say:

Among voters polled, 62% support the proposed Constitutional Amendment and would vote “yes” if the election were held today, with another 17% undecided. This support is consistent across both political parties, with Republicans voting yes at 66%, Democrats at 58%, and independent voters at 62%.

So maybe the January baseline is 62% for, 21% against, and 17% undecided.

According to the Georgia Charter Schools Association (GCSA) (and thanks to Jim Galloway and the AJC):

Polls conducted in March and again in July 2012:
  • 58% would vote “yes”
  • 23% would vote “no”
  • 19% are undecided
There was no shift in the polling numbers between March and July.

GCSA provides no links or other citations for those March or July polls, and I don’t see them anywhere on GCSA’s website. I did find an article by Walter C. Jones in 18 June 2012, Poll shows majority of likely Georgia voters favor charter school amendment: An opponent calls the ballot language “confusingly misleading.”

Age was a clearer line. Voters whose children were closer to school age were more supportive. Those younger than 55 supported it 62 percent while 54 percent of those older than 55 supported it.

That’s a clue to who we most need to convince to vote No: younger voters.

Even by March or July, apparently shift had already happened, since 58% is a lot less than 72% or even 62%. And shift continues to happen. According to Paul Crawley for 12 September 2012,

Meanwhile, a recent poll by Republican Todd Rehm of showed 48% support the amendment, while 26% oppose it.

11Alive didn’t provide a link, but I found Todd Rehm’s PR for the results from poll,

The question, which uses the same language that will appear on the ballot, shows that 48.3% of likely General Election voters, defined as those who voted in the 2008 or 2010 General Elections, currently favor the measure….

While nearly a majority favor the measure, those who did not indicate they would vote for it are evenly split, with 26.2% saying they will vote against it, and 25.5% undecided.

Rehm’s PR spins his results as positive for the referendum. But Crawley concludes:

That could mean as many as one in four Georgia voters still haven’t made up their minds.

Georgia Charter School Referendum Polls
Looks to me like a lot of previously Yes voters have moved to Undecided and a lot of those have moved to No. Already, Rehm’s “nearly a majority” is less than the large majorities proponents claimed only a few months ago. If we can keep that motion going, converting more Undecideds to No voters, by November most voters will vote No on the charter school referendum.