One group leading the pro-school voucher charge is striking back with its own public opinion poll, with a well-known name at the top.
Students First, which has organized several rallies and other outreach promoting a state Senate school voucher bill, released a poll today showing 54 percent of likely Pennsylvania voters in support of the pending legislation. The poll's contact is John Brabender of BrabenderCox, who served as Gov. Tom Corbett's chief campaign media guru.
A news release on the poll went on to not-so-subtlely hint to lawmakers that they should think carefully about their vote: "When asked if they would be more or less likely in next year's elections to vote for a legislator that supports school choice legislation, 57 percent of respondents said they would be more likely, while only 33 percent indicated they would be less likely, a 24 point difference."
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association and state League of Women Voters last week presented their own poll, showing opposition to the plan, as the Senate bill appeared set for approval in that chamber.
But that expected approval was delayed after some committee changes and uncertainty about support from the House and the administration. Corbett, who spoke to GOP senators on the measure during a private caucus meeting, since has declined to say whether he supports some of the bill's specific proposals. But he continues to say he's working with the Legislature and that he's "committed to getting it passed."
Students First also is committed to getting voucher legislation passed into law, and it's little surprise that they can afford a high-powered political operative. The group's political action committee gave millions last year to the Democratic gubernatorial bid of state Sen. Anthony Williams, providing the vast majority of his campaign warchest. They also gave at least $27,000 to Corbett's campaign, and those of three top legislative Republicans.