Webb’s Wrap: Statewide Dem candidates face big hurdle: too many Republicans . . . The Democratic agenda? . . . School choice

I watched some of the Hinckley Institute interviews conducted Wednesday by Jason Perry with the two gubernatorial candidates. Both Democrat Chris Peterson and Republican Spencer Cox are smart, articulate, and well-spoken.

Cox, given his years as lieutenant governor and as a legislator, clearly has the advantage of much experience and familiarity with state issues. But Peterson also has done his homework and had good, sensible answers to Perry’s questions. He’s obviously more liberal than Cox, but he’s certainly not pushing a leftist agenda.
But here’s the problem for Peterson (and all Democrats running statewide): A new Utah Policy/Y2 Analytics poll shows that only 29 percent of Utah likely voters identity themselves as strong, not very strong, or independent/leaning Democrats. Some 54 percent identify themselves as strong, not very strong, or independent/leaning Republicans. In the middle are 17 percent who are true independents with no preference, or who identify with a minor political party.

And regarding political ideology, 54 percent of Utah likely voters label themselves as strongly or moderately conservative, while only 24 percent say they are moderately or strongly (16 percent moderately, 8 percent strongly) liberal. Another 21 percent say they are middle of the road, neither conservative or liberal.

Even if Peterson gets all the true middle-of-the-roaders (which he won’t), it won’t be enough to win. He isn’t going to get enough Republican/conservative votes to get to a majority. He may do fairly well in Salt Lake County, but he’ll get swamped in Utah and Davis counties, and most of the rest of the state.

The national Democratic agenda? Democrats are highly frustrated on a number of fronts and are in the mood to shake up Washington if they gain control. The Washington Post’s Amber Phillips wrote an analysis of the “dramatic governing changes” Democrats could make if they take power.

  1.  Get rid of the filibuster
  2.  Pack the Supreme Court by adding more judges
  3.  Give D.C. and Puerto Rico statehood
  4.  Get rid of the electoral college
  5.  Impose term limits on Supreme Court justices

Nice, mainstream agenda, designed to reassure voters.

School choice gaining popularity. The pandemic is changing education, with parents taking more responsibility as their children are learning at home. One likely long-term outcome is more home schooling, and more parents looking for the best option for their children. That means more people will support school choice and will favor at least a portion of public funding following the child to whatever education options are selected.

This is confirmed by a recent survey by Real Clear Opinion Research showing support surging for school choice. See poll results HERE.

Parting shot. If you’re like me, you’re getting tired of all the negative ads targeting Burgess Owens in the  4th Congressional District (and to a lesser extent targeting Congressman Ben McAdams). If so, we should be glad we’re not in a swing state where hundreds of millions of dollars worth of nasty, negative ads are being aired in the Trump/Biden clash, and in many competitive U.S. Senate races. By comparison, we have a very tame, lackluster election in Utah.

If you have a comment, an item you think should be publicized, or just want to tell me I’m an idiot, shoot me a message at [email protected].