HAWAII POLL: Latest poll shows close battle over public funding for private preschools
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
With 11 days to go until the election, our Hawaii News Now/Star Advertiser poll shows a close battle over public funding for private preschools.
Numbers in favor of the early education constitutional Amendment 4 have dropped by double digits since Governor Abercrombie was out pushing universal preschool for 17-thousand four year olds.
When Neil Abercombie was defeated in the democratic primary, the amendment lost its number one champion.
At a Governor's forum before the primary election, the incumbent called it the most important decision on the ballot. He added, "I'm passionate about this because I know this is an opportunity to set a future for these kids."
Yes on 4 supporters call public funding for private preschools a "yes brainer."
Our new Hawaii poll suggests the ballot battle is too close to call. 50 percent said they would vote yes.
42 said no.
Deborah Zysman, Executive Director of the Good Beginnings Alliance said, "We think some of the reason it's so close is that HSTA has been out there trying to confuse people and raise questions, many of which have clear answers."
HSTA President Wil Okabe said in a statement to Hawaii News Now, "we believe that all children should have fair and equal access to the best education. therefore, the hsta cannot support a constitutional amendment that does not lay out plans on how it will provide universal access to preschool."
HSTA has internally told members that "the amendment would take money from public schools to benefit private preschools" and "rob public schools of funds".
Support fell 12 points in 8 months, from 62 percent in February polls, to 54 percent before the primary-- to 50 percent now.
The measure needs 50 plus one to pass. Blank votes count as a no.
Even if it passes, will Hawaii's next governor support it?
At our HNN town hall debate, two leading gubernatorial candidates singled out the preschool amendment as one of Abercrombie's programs that they would review.
Democrat David Ige said, "As you know I am opposing it. We don't have the funds and private schools aren't in the communities where they need to be."
Republican Duke Aiona said, "A program I would look at is Constitutional Amendment 4 that you're all going to vote on, The program itself is something that hasn't been approved or agreed upon."