It looks like the financial troubles of the Gannett Company prevented the Des Moines Register from doing a comprehensive poll. So, instead of the normally well-thought-out poll, we got a weird hodgepodge of issues and approval ratings that seems odd to me.
I was glad to see that the Register polled on Culver’s plan to borrow $750 million to build things like a Tower of Invincibility. I was glad to see that the public shares my suspicion of the debt scheme; 71% of those polled opposed the idea. Folks, this is Culver’s main legislative proposal this year, and the people are flat out opposed to it. This is embarrassing for Culver.
The Register also polled on a number of labor issues. If you think that the public was tough on Culver, the public really has a poor opinion of labor unions. 46% of those surveyed said that labor unions are too powerful. 66% opposed the unions “fair share” legislation. On the other hand, 62% of respondents said they believe that employers treat their employers fairly. Remember, this poll was conducted after the labor unions have spent a lot of money “educating people” on their issues.
The one issue that really stuck out for me was the gas tax. Only 13% of people support increasing it. So, that means we had an extensive debate and wasted a lot of time on something only a small minority support. The Register must have surveyed some legislators and a few trucking company owners because they are the only ones who supported the plan in the first place. Hopefully this puts that issue to rest for a while.
What I found really odd was the fact that the Register didn’t poll on the Democrats’ proposal to eliminate federal deductibility. You would think that a massive tax increase would be worthy of a poll question, but they were too busy polling on Dave Vaudt’s reelection race. I was not surprised that not many people knew who the State Auditor was. What surprised me was that the Register asked a question about him but not Vander Plaats. Weird.
I also thought it was odd that they didn’t poll on the gay marriage issue. Sure the Court’s decision somewhat came out of the blue, but they knew it would be handed down this spring. Why wouldn’t they have polled on it? Who knows, maybe they did, and they just don’t want the people of Iowa to know that 70% of Iowans believe that marriage is between one man and one woman.
Or maybe the Register staff was busy throwing a wedding shower for their Statehouse reporter, Jason Clayworth, who announced on his Facebook page that he’s now engaged to some guy named Joe. He also joined the Facebook Group called, “I Support The Unanimous Iowa Supreme Court Ruling – Gay Marriage.”
I’m sure Jason will be fair and balanced in his reporting on the effort to pass a marriage amendment… just like all the other Iowa reporters who have congratulated him on his Facebook page.
Sorry, I got a little off track there for a minute or two.
The Register Poll also saw the approval numbers of every elected official slip. This is a clear sign that the public is discontented with their elected representatives. While Obama, Grassley, and Harkin all saw their approval ratings take a hit, they are all still well thought of and respected.
Culver also saw his approval numbers take a hit. The Register poll still has him at 55%, but his hard reelect number is only 35%. I think that more troubling for Culver is his low re-elect numbers combined with that fact that 71% object to his bonding proposal. He also went to bat for a number of union issues that are not popular with the public. For a Governor who is clearly trying to avoid political landmines, he has been his own worst enemy.
Things are going to get much more difficult for Culver. When Culver ran for Governor, he said that he believed that marriage should be between one man and one woman. He is on the record as saying that in the Democrat primary and the general election, and he affirmed his position after being elected. With the Supreme Court decision that allows gay marriage in Iowa, Culver will now be lobbied aggressively by gay marriage supporters and opponents to side with them. If Culver maintains his support of traditional marriage, those pushing for a marriage amendment will want him to pressure legislative leaders to help it come to a vote.
Culver has overseen massive spending increases, which have led to budget problems for the state during his time in office. If he signs the repeal of federal deductibility, he will have signed into law the largest tax increase in Iowa’s history. And this is a Governor who has already raised taxes and fees in his first term. All of this is coupled with legalized gay marriage, which will make his reelection the most difficult of any incumbent in 30 years.
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