Sunday, November 4, 2012

Is Superintendent Tony Bennett's Re-Election in Jeopardy?

State Superintendent of
Public Instruction Tony Bennett
For me the biggest surprise in the Howey-DePauw poll was not the Mourdock-Donnelly-Horning result, but the finding that incumbent Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett only leads challenger Democrat Glenda Ritz by 40-36, with 24% undecided.

If those figures are correct, Bennett is in serious trouble.  Undecided voters typically break by about a 2/3 margin for the challenger in a race in a race involving an incumbent.   That would mean Ritz wins 52-48 on election day.

While I'm a big believer in the science of polling, I have serious reservations about the Howey poll.  For example, according to the cross tabs only 9% of the people polled voted in the GOP primary.   I would think that possibly a misprint, but I haven't seen any correction.

While I think the Bennett-Ritz race will be below the GOP statewide baseline, I expect that Bennett will cross the winners line with about 53% of the vote on election day.  That is actually signficantly better than his 51-49 victory in 2008.

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