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There’s a lot to be learned from the News and Observer’s poll (10-24-06). Let’s start with the School Bond. Supporters say their poll shows voters support the bonds 56% to 37%. The News and Observer’s poll shows almost the exact opposite. Voters oppose the bonds 54% to 35%.


Every group in the News and Observer poll – men, women, young, old, Republicans, Independents, everyone except Democrats – opposed the bond, and even Democrats only supported it marginally.


Parents opposed to year-round schools argue that’s why the bonds will fail. But the News and Observer poll shows only 14% of the voters are opposed to the bonds because of the School Board’s move to year-round schools. Overwhelmingly, voters say they’d vote against the bond because it will lead to a property tax increase. The tax and voters’ loss of confidence in the School Board are the two biggest reasons voters oppose the bonds.


The News and Observer also asked voters if they would support other tax increases to pay for school bonds. Voters sent back a clear answer: No. They oppose using Mayor Meeker’s impact fees to pay for bonds 59% to 27%. They also oppose a 1% real estate transfer tax and a sales tax increase. In summing up the News and Observer’s pollster said he would be “shocked” if the bonds pass.


The first two polls taken on the school bonds, months ago, showed a majority of voters opposed them. The voters didn’t think higher taxes were justified then and nothing bond supporters have said has convinced them otherwise. The most viable solutions, politically, would seem to be the ones proposed by the Locke Foundation and Americans for Prosperity: pass a smaller bond ($650 million) that would not mean a tax, then use the Hotels/Restaurant tax, the Ad Valorem Tax and cuts in non-priority spending to fund schools.


The President didn’t fair well in the News and Observer poll either. Wake County voters disapproved of the job President Bush is doing by 2 to 1 (61% to 30%). They also turned thumbs down on the State Legislature, disapproving of its job performance 59% to 31%. Congress, amazingly, did worse – a whopping 65% of voters disapprove of the job Congress is doing, while only one in five (23%) approve.


Lastly, the News and Observer asked voters what types of mass transit they preferred – buses, bicycles, car pools or trains. Trains won but that’s deceptive. Against bicycles, buses, and car pools they were only the choice of 39% of the people.


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