IL Presidential Poll

The earlier leaked poll from Harstad for the Obama campaign confirms one reason why I put some stock in it–the Presidential numbers are in line with other polls:

A statewide poll taken for Illinois Democratic Senate hopeful Barack Obama pegs Kerry at 51 percent compared to 37 percent for Bush.

The internals in the poll are interesting: While women generally favor Kerry over Bush (53 percent for Kerry, 34 percent for Bush), the big divide comes between married and single females. Some 60 percent of single women would vote for Kerry; 26 percent for Bush.

Bush was running only 3 points ahead of Kerry in Downstate Illinois, defined in this poll as everyplace outside the Chicago media market, with most of Kerry’s muscle found among Chicago voters, who backed Kerry 73 percent to 12 percent for Bush.

Obama’s campaign shared with me pages from its poll about the presidential race in Illinois. The poll of 653 likely Illinois voters by Harstad Strategic Research was taken March 25-31 and has a 4 percent margin of error.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it again, if Ryan ties himself to Bush he’ll lose.

Because I Can Take Credit!

Mark Brown tackles the Governor’s defunding of a well run program to encourage high quality students to become teachers.

One reason could be the fact that Golden Apple was brought into the state fold under former Gov. Jim Edgar. Blagojevich isn’t going to go further up the political ladder by touting great programs started by his predecessors.

Golden Apple takes students right out of high school and puts them in a summer internship program that gives them classroom teaching experience. The summer program is taught by the award-winning Golden Apple teachers.

If you’re familiar with the teachers honored by Golden Apple in your own community, you probably know that they seem to find the best teachers, the real difference-makers.

An effective evaluation of the program every year could probably be done for about $50,000 if it isn’t already included in the budget. Thus, the state could keep tabs on the program’s effectiveness without reinventing the wheel.

Next, I’ll Reinvent Addition and Subtraction

What a weiner. I really have had it with Blagojevich’s using the budgetary process to try and win the next election instead of seriously sitting down with some of the adults in Springfield and making a budget. The Trib calls him on his math today, and does an excellent job criticizing his educational priorities.

The end actually contains the most important nugget:

If Blagojevich wants to increase education funding at a time of serious budget deficits, he should focus that expenditure on the two areas that will have the greatest impact: expanding preschool access to at-risk children and raising the foundation level of per pupil spending to help even out the gross funding disparities between rich and poor districts. A $250 per pupil increase, from $4,810 to $5,060, is probably too ambitious; it should be scaled back to ensure that some of the smaller, proven ideas such as preschool expansion and Project Success are fully funded.

Look, Illlinois is already ahead of Missouri on these issues (and I sit in with funders for Early Child Care Education somewhat regularly), but the key to success is stimulating brain function at the earliest ages. That is where the focus should be and increasing the foundation floor–rural districts are in a world of hurt and have little in the way to increase property taxes on. Blagojevich can run around downstate promoting coal and other idiotic ideas all he wants, but rural communities need good schools more than any other development incentive. He has some movement towards that, but instead of trying to be everything to everyone, he needs to focus the efforts–or he will end up doing exactly what the current State Board of Education does–play favorites on political connections.

First, I’ll Act Quickly and Secretly, Next I’ll Avoid Controversy

He’s not at the top of my list this week and his avoidance of dealing with the Chief isn’t helping. The Chief is a horrible stereotype of a proud tribe. It has to go. Whether Emil Jones shot across the bow is the most effective means to do so is open to question, but at least he took a strong position on it.

For those not seeing the problem with the Chief, imagine a team called the Nigerians that had someone dress up in traditional dress of Zulus and then did a caricature of those customs for a bunch of screaming college students. Just as minstrel shows are a thing of the past, so should the current incarnation of the Chief. Perhaps a new incarnation that is respectful of Illini customs would be appropriate, but the current version is a horrible slap in the face to American Indians.

Zorn sums up the problem quite well

To me, the Chief debate is simple: He’s got to go because in our culture, public institutions in particular don’t preserve or maintain symbols or language that a significant portion of the population–particularly those most directly affected — feels is profoundly offensive.

Have I Pissed Off Enough People Lately? NO

G-Rod appears to be connected to the change in health care providers for state workers that is only now starting to filter through the news. Cross’ people are all over it. I don’t believe my family members are affected, but knowing how they value their benefits, this isn’t the way to make friends. The sudden decision without consultation only makes people angrier. The real measure will be if Da Speaker acts on it. Given this involves state employees, I wouldn’t be surprised.

I just don’t get it. Democrats get the first Governor since I before I can remember Jim Thompson at McLean County Republican Picnics and they guy does everything he can to annoy just about everyone.

Call Toomey

I’m calling Pennsylvania for Toomey. So donate to Obama so that Hoeffel can get more DSCC funds. On the right at the top.

Note: Highly unscientific feel that Toomey’s people are motivated and Specter’s aren’t is leading to this call!