It’s a good start.
Most Houston-area voters plan to support $2.7 billion worth of city, public school and community college bond packages on the November ballot, according to a new poll.
The results defy conventional wisdom that a crowded ballot makes passage of multiple bond measures less likely because of sticker shock.
“Voters are in an unusually optimistic and I would call it an expansion mode,” said Rice University professor Bob Stein, who conducted the poll with University of Houston political scientist Richard Murray.
About 54 percent of voters said they would support the Houston Independent School District’s $1.9 billion bond issue – the largest package on the ballot. The poll found 22 percent opposed it and the rest were undecided or didn’t respond.
“One might think 54 percent is not a landslide,” Stein said, “but when you have twice as many supporters as you have opponents, it tells you that you’re trending in the right direction in support.”
More information and the polling memo can be found here and here. Support for the HCC bond measure was 55.7%, and for the city bonds a whopping 66.9%. Metro’s measure just had plurality support, but the question didn’t spell out that a No vote meant ending the General Mobility Program, so I wouldn’t read too much into it. It’s important to remember that the electorate for these bonds is predominantly Democratic, and this should be a good year for Democratic turnout. It’s a very different proposition than what HISD faced in 2007, for example. It’s just one data point and it’s early in the game, but this at least relieves me of my usual rant about polling unlikely voters for city races. The campaigns for these measures are still gearing up, and it remains to be seen if there will be organized, funded opposition to them. I hope we’ll see more polling later in the race to see how it goes from here.