Opinion: Morning Examiner

Survey suggests Common Core poses a conundrum for conservatives

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Education,Mark Tapscott,Morning Examiner,Republican Party,Conservatism,Common Core

Common Core is an initiative designed to establish common math and English-language standards for public schools across the country. It is sparking a growing opposition movement.

To many conservatives, the initiative — which is sponsored by the National Governors Association and state school chiefs and is tied to federal educational grants to states — is too "top-down" for their tastes.

But others support the effort to establish reasonable and productive minimum standards as a needed education reform.

Public opinion numbers

A new poll of Republican voters out today may be bad news for opponents, however. The survey by McLaughlin & Associates found that although Republicans have mixed feelings about Common Core, they are more likely to vote for candidates who support the standards.

As pollster John McLaughlin writes in an op-ed for the Washington Examiner:

"Initially, the reaction to Common Core among Republicans was mixed — 33 percent support the standards, and only 41 percent oppose them. However, if you believe that Common Core will be a polarizing issue for Republican voters, you are wrong.

"After we read a neutral description of what Common Core Standards are — 'a set of standards in Math and English which state what a child should know in both subjects by the end of each grade of school they complete' — support among all voters soared to 64 percent versus only 29 percent who were opposed.

GOP voters like Common Core

"Among conservative Republican primary voters the numbers were 59 percent in favor, 35 percent opposed — a very solid majority."

McLaughlin notes that a plurality of GOP voters — 48 percent — were more likely to choose a candidate who supports Common Core.

"Obamacare may be toxic, but Common Core is not," he writes.

Clearly, Common Core opponents face an uphill battle.

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