Education top priority for voters, new poll reveals

first_imgThe results of a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll released this weekend revealed public opinion on the race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the race for governor, and ballot propositions, as well as the public’s thoughts on the state’s high-speed rail project, plastic grocery bag ban and Ebola.According to poll results, education has surpassed the economy as a top priority among California voters. Forty-two percent of likely voters rated education as their most important issue. Thirty-seven percent of likely voters said that the economy was their number one concern, followed by water and drought issues (27 percent), crime and public safety (16 percent), taxes (17 percent) and the state budget deficit (13 percent), a press release stated.This divide might be a contributing factor in the tight race for State Superintendent. Poll results showed that incumbent Tom Torlakson leads over opponent Marshall Tuck by a slim margin of 32 to 29 percent among likely voters, according to a Dornsife press release.“I can’t think of a down-ticket office in recent California history that’s received so much attention,” said Dan Schnur, director of the poll and executive director of the USC Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, in the press release. “Some of that is the relative lack of competition at the top of the ballot, some of it is lack of extremely compelling ballot initiatives, but a lot of it is the emergence of education as such a top-tier issue for California voters.”In the race for governor, 56 percent of registered likely voters said they would cast their ballot for incumbent Jerry Brown, while 37 percent support Republican businessman Neel Kashkari, results showed. Likely voters also strongly support the propositions supported by Brown, such as Propositions 1 and 2 as well as Proposition 47.Proposition 1 allows the state to spend more money on water-related programs, and Proposition 2 increases California’s rainy-day fund while also requiring more regular payment of state debt. Proposition 47 allows misdemeanor instead of felony sentencing for some drug- and property-related offenses.The majority of likely voters oppose Propositions 45 and 46, which give the state more control over health insurance rates and increase the cap for damages in medical malpractice suits, respectively.“Propositions 1, 2 and 47 are facing little or no financial opposition, while the campaigns for Propositions 45 and 46 are being heavily outspent,” Schnur said in a press release.Meanwhile, voters were divided about California’s potential high-speed rail line. Forty-eight percent of respondents said the project should stop compared to the 44 percent who wanted it to proceed. In contrast, the September 2013 poll showed less support, with 43 percent of voters in favor of the project and 52 percent opposed.Participants were also polled on their concern about Ebola and the state’s plastic grocery bag ban. Most respondents said they were not concerned about exposure to the Ebola virus, with 46 percent of California voters saying they are “not at all worried” that they or a family member will be exposed to Ebola and 24 percent saying that they are not “too worried.”Furthermore, California voters support the recent statewide ban on plastic grocery bags in a margin of about 2-to-1, according to the poll.last_img read more