May 12, 2007

Of Toddlers and Stubbed Toes

Mike McCarville is taking an online poll on his website, asking his readers to rate Gov. Brad Henry's job performance.

Mike writes today that some folks think Henry may be about to stub his toe on this budget deal, but I would suggest that he first stubbed it this year when he unsuccessfully tried to expand preschool to three-year-olds, then threw a bit of a tantrum over the matter. Why would Henry try to push something that is so unpopular (unpopular even among those who otherwise approve of Henry's job performance)?

Survey results from last month (Mike reported on them here) show that Oklahoma voters, by a margin of better than two to one, oppose the creation of a public school program for three-year-olds. And it's not just us curmudgeonly conservatives who oppose the idea. Oklahoma liberals oppose it (by a margin of 54 percent to 41 percent), and so do moderates (54 to 35). Oklahoma Democrats oppose the idea by a margin of 60 percent to 34 percent. Oklahomans who voted to reelect Henry last year oppose it (58 to 36), and even Oklahomans who currently have a favorable opinion of the governor oppose it (61 to 33).

I'm not sure what the governor -- whose political instincts are normally quite good -- was thinking on this one. Perhaps he never poll-tested the issue. Perhaps he knew the idea was unpopular, but decided it was important enough that it warranted spending some of his political capital. Or perhaps on this issue the governor is -- how to put this? -- not the one wearing the pants in his family. Whatever the case, it's reassuring to know that on this issue Oklahomans have more sense than the Henrys.

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