GOP schooled on education politics
Republicans thought this would be the year to make education their winning issue. The plan was simple: Talk up the GOP’s support for school choice—including vouchers to help parents pay for private school—and win the hearts of moms everywhere. It hasn’t worked out like that. Instead, in Florida, Kansas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, Republicans are on the defensive about education. It isn’t usually a top-tier concern for voters, but Democrats see issues such as college affordability and K-12 funding as their best chance to motivate the on-again, off-again voters who often sit out midterms. Democrats’ top targets are “drop-off voters” who are ambivalent about casting ballots next month. They include hundreds of thousands of young adults, single women, and minorities in key battleground states. In testing messages that might push them to the polls, Democratic strategists have found that education plays extremely well. Accusing Republicans of cutting programs for students while giving tax breaks to the rich motivates diffident voters more than similarly partisan messages on reproductive rights, the economy, or health care, veteran Democratic political strategist Celinda Lake found in a series of focus groups and polls. Politico, 10-19-14.