GOP Poll: Opposition to Common Core, Vulnerability For Governor Deal

A survey conducted by my own firm in conjunction with pollster Fred Hicks revealed some interesting information about the GOP base. We wanted to measure the depth of the opposition to the Common Core standards, so we only queried people who had previously voted in at least two GOP primaries, we excluded anyone who had voted in a Democratic primary, and we asked a qualifying question about their intent to vote in the Republican primary. This triple-filtered group of respondents provided some real insight into just how riled up the base of the GOP is.

In addition to the questions about Common Core, we asked this group about their preferences in the GOP primary for US Senate, and about a potential head-to-head matchup in a general election between Governor Nathan Deal and State Senator Jason Carter.

What did we find? 42% of Republican primary voters opposed Common Core, and 77% of that group would actually be willing to pay more in taxes to abandon the standards. That’s not just a division in the party, that’s a crack in its very foundation.

Another surprising result? Nearly 8% of these voters would vote for Senator Carter over Governor Deal -roughly double what you would expect from this group at this stage.

Based on the results from the last Governor’s race, Carter would need to switch 9.5% of Deal’s 2010 voters to to his side in order to win,” said Hicks. “While that seemed like a remote possibility at the time of Senator Carter’s announcement, these results make this race one to watch.”

Coincidentally, Professor Larry Sabato, Director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, downgraded Georgia’s Governor’s race from “Safe” Republican to “Likely Republican.

Full release and a link to the toplines below the fold. For Immediate Release: February 19, 2014

Media Contacts:

The Hicks Evaluation Group (HEG), Fredrick Hicks, [email protected]

Apache Political Communications, Michael Hassinger, [email protected]

Georgia Poll Reveals Opposition to Common Core, Vulnerability For Governor Deal

Common Core Opponents Willing To Pay More Taxes To Drop Standards

Jason Carter Pulling Support Directly From GOP Base

 (Atlanta)— A survey of the most likely Republican voters in Georgia showed hard opposition to the Common Core standards and a small but surprising amount of support for Governor Nathan Deal’s likely opponent in the General Election, State Senator Jason Carter, D-Decatur.

“These respondents were selected only if they voted in Republican Primary elections before, and if they said they planned to vote in the upcoming primary,” said pollster and President of HEG, Fred Hicks. “When asked, nearly 8% of these Republican voters said they would vote for Jason Carter in the general election. If this is not merely an expression of anti-Deal sentiment, and Jason Carter is actually turning the Republican base away from an incumbent Republican Governor, then the November election could be much closer than previously expected.”

“Based on the results from the last Governor’s race, Carter needs to switch 9.5% of Deal’s 2010 voters to his side in order to win,” said Hicks. “While that seemed like a remote possibility at the time of Senator Carter’s announcement, these results make this race one to watch.”

The survey also found that 42% of Republican voters oppose the Common Core educational standards, and that a significant majority of Common Core opponents would be willing to pay more taxes if that’s what it took to abandon Common Core.

“Opposition to taxes is a given for Republicans,” said Mike Hassinger of Apache Political Communications. “But 77% of the group that wants to abandon Common Core says they would be willing to pay more taxes to do so, which indicates entrenched, hardened opposition to the issue. Nobody’s ever going to change those people’s minds, and anyone who wants to rebuild public support for Common Core should focus on the 30% of Republican voters who support it and the 27% who are undecided about it.”

The survey also measured Republican sentiment on educational spending in general, as well as support for candidates in the Republican Primary for US Senate.

The survey was conducted jointly by the Hicks Evaluation Group (HEG) and Apache Political Communications.  HEG was recently cited in Politico and other outlets for its survey research on transportation funding after the snow storm.  Mike Hassinger of Apache was recently cited for his interview with former Governor Sonny Perdue regarding Common Core.

Topline results available in pdf at this link.


  1. Charlie says:

    You have a very fundamental flaw in the way the Common Core part is presented.

    42% oppose. That’s not a majority, but that is clearly documented.

    77% of that group is 32%. That’s less than one third of only Republicans.

    But to the flaw, your question didn’t ask if “they” would be willing to pay more. The question is “Would you support abandoning Common Core Standards if it results in the State spending more tax dollars on K through 12 education to offset Federal dollars Georgia will lose”

    I’ll ignore the fact that the question is loaded with the false presumption that Georgia would lose federal tax dollars and speak to the problem with your conclusion to the answers.

    You state that these responses that the voters are willing to pay more. The question asked if the State would be willing to pay more. It’s quite possible for the responders to assume that taxes won’t be raised, and that any expense would have to come from cuts elsewhere. After all, we’re all “taxed enough already” and there is not reasonable possibility from these voters/responders to expect anyone is going to propose a tax increase where THEY pay more. They’ll just expect someone else somewhere to get less.

    • I take your point, but will hide my “fundamental” flaw behind the word “if,” which makes the question a hypothetical. I believe that these GOP primary voters would be willing to pay more in taxes ~if they had to~ in order to abandon the Common Core standards. I could be wrong, of course, and feel certain that some Common Core opponents will visit this comment thread and tell me one way or the other.

      • Charlie says:

        A more appropriate point is that just more than one third Republican primary voters (many of whom are grossly misinformed about what these standards are) are convincing Republican “leaders” to reverse ten years of Republican led education reform efforts in Georgia because Obama likes it and Glenn Beck doesn’t.

        But you tell them you’re going to increase their individual taxes to do this and you won’t get near one third saying yes.

        • And through the transitive power of addition’s tricky friend, we can conclude that 58% of GOP voters either support the standards or have no opinion, in other words, a silent majority of GOP voters do NOT oppose Common Core. But squeaky wheels, grease, etc.

            • Charlie says:

              Hard to use those who have no opinion about something that has been the cornerstone of Georgia’s education policy beginning in 2005 as proof of a demand for change.

              Instead, we’re capitulating to those who rally saying this is the product of the Muslim Brotherhood implementing Sharia law.

              Leadership, this is not.

              • mpierce says:

                1) Show me that Common Core has been “the cornerstone of Georgia’s education policy” since 2005.

                2) Hard to use those with no opinion (or this survey for that matter) to support either side of the issue.

                3) Show me how those believing “this is the product of the Muslim Brotherhood implementing Sharia law” are the ones we are capitulating to, as opposed to those who have valid concerns.

                • Charlie says:

                  1) You’re pretty good at scouring the internet and finding random data points that agree with your premises, why don’t you look around and find some info about Kathy Cox’s curriculum reform, then look for articles showing where Sonny Perdue used them as the basis for the Common Core standards. Here’s the end game recap, posted here just a few days ago.


                  2) I didn’t say they should be included as support. I did say the uninformed shouldn’t be used to indicate that it’s OK to abandoned established policy.

                  3) Also from a few days ago, note the sign in the back. And it comes up at every anti-Common Core event I’ve been aware of:

                  • mpierce says:

                    1) GPS and Common Core standards are NOT the same thing. If CC were the cornerstone of our system, why are we spending millions to implement it? Common Core is more than just a set of standards.

                    On July 8, 2010, the State Board of Education adopted the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS), with letters of support provided by the University System of Georgia and the
                    Technical College System of Georgia. The CCGPS are based on the Common Core State Standards and were adopted in English-Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. Adoption of a “robust curriculum” was a requirement of the Race to the Top application process and Georgia chose to adopt the Common Core State Standards to meet this requirement. Implementation of the new standards in Georgia schools began during the 2012-2013 school year with the rollout of the English-Language Arts standards in grades K-12.


                    2) Agree, but you chose not to take issue w/ Mike’s use of 58% (which is what I was responding to).

                    3) Do you really believe policy is being decided because of 1 sign being held up at the back of an event? Or are you avoiding my comment? And I suppose you believe all tea party supporters are racists and all democrats approve of rape.

                    • Charlie says:

                      As I was referencing above, you are someone who has quite the penchant for finding extraneous facts on the internet without any idea how to imply them.

                      There is a difference between the “Standards” (Common Core) and the curriculum (how the state and local systems decide to implement a teaching plan to meet those standards).

                      When Kathy Cox was elected in 2004, her first major initiative was to revamp Georgia’s curriculum to meet higher standards and get us out of the cellar in comparison to other states.

                      In the post I linked to with former Governor Perdue, he explains how when other Governors decided to set baseline standards across states, Georgia’s new standards were used for much of the benchmarks.

                      Thus, Common Core is based on Georgia’s curriculum, not Georgia changing to meet some federally imposed solution.

                      Anyone wishing to engage in this debate needs to understand this first, or the rest of the debate is meaningless.

                      2) Pointless circular argument

                      3) casting a pejorative hoping I’ll bite because you’re losing an argument on merit, and I choose not to play.

                    • John Konop says:

                      I agree Charlie the issue is much more shuttle…..but with that said parents from all parties have issues….both sides alienate patents faster than bring people together…..I have been in meetings and both sides are not reaching people not in thier core voter base….that is why you could see a wild swing with the right candidate. I do think Deal will be ok if he embraces reforms via aptitude……Carter at this point has not offered anything….until it becomes a real issue based on candidates both sides are just spitting in the wind….

                    • Dr. Monica Henson says:

                      “GPS and Common Core standards are NOT the same thing.”

                      Charlie has provided cogent evidence to substantiate that CC is in fact derived from GPS. As a Georgia public school administrator and former National Board Certified Teacher, I concur heartily with Charlie.

                      “If CC were the cornerstone of our system, why are we spending millions to implement it?”

                      The millions have been spent ensuring that the assessment types underpinning CC are being incorporated into GPS. It’s the testing that drives the spending. You can’t administer simple multiple-choice bubble-in tests if you have a full implementation of CC–you must administer tests requiring considerable percentage of human scoring, which is far more expensive.

                      “Common Core is more than just a set of standards.”

                      No. No, it is not. It is an outline, grade by grade, of what a student should know and be able to do, whether s/he lives in Georgia or California. That’s the very definition of “standards.” It is not a curriculum, and it does not prescribe how to teach, nor does it dictate pacing.

                    • mpierce says:

                      CC is derived in part from GPS, thus also derived in part not from GPS.

                      Estimated cost for CURRICULUM development adjusting to CC
                      2011 $1,302,288
                      2012 $1,272,232
                      2013 $1,144,837
                      2014 $3,401,648

                      Those are not assessment costs.
                      There are also training costs (again not assessment development).

                      When I said that CC was more than just standards it was those assessments I was referring to.

                    • Dave Bearse says:

                      There are about 1.5M K-12 pupils in GA, so the cirriculum development expense for Obamacore is a whopping $1 per pupil per year.

  2. Deal at <80% in a general election is not great with this crowd, although just because you vote in a Democratic or Republican primary doesn't mean you're a Democrat or a Republican, but it usually does.

  3. ryanhawk says:

    I wonder how many of the nuts participating in this survey have ever heard of “A Nation at Risk” and realize they are siding with teachers unions and against Ronald Reagan?

  4. Harry says:

    No. No, it is not. It is an outline, grade by grade, of what a student should know and be able to do, whether s/he lives in Georgia or California. I don’t see how we expect to measure to one standard the various attributes exhibited by human students. Could somebody explain me. It seems artificial. All are not created of equal abilities, nor can be educated to equal standards. There need to be at least several sets of standards, or perhaps a software that tailors a specific set to each individual based on where they are at in their academic progress. Otherwise, you’re setting them up for failure which is what we’ve been doing more and more of in this country’s ed system.

    “One man cannot hold another man down in the ditch without remaining down in the ditch with him.” – Booker T. Washington

    • “I don’t see how we expect to measure to one standard the various attributes exhibited by human students.” Here’s an example, simplified:
      Q: Can we expect children to be able to count to 20 by the end of the second grade?
      A: Yes.
      So let’s call that “the standard.” Hypothetically, let’s say 75% of Georgia second-graders can do that, 85% of California second-graders can do that, but only 50% of Kansas second-graders could do that. How do you find out WHY, and find out what the method (curricula or technique) is that’s working best? It could be any number of causes, but let’s just say for argument’s sake that Georgia has more kids in poverty, California has the best method and Kansas has, I don’t know, banned the number 13. (Hey, it’s possible.)
      If they wanted to improve student performance, Georgia would need to adapt their methods/curricula/techniques do address the poverty issue (and do it in their own way, although California’s methods COULD be one thing Georgia might consider doing) and Kansas could either make the number 13 legal or continue to lag on that standard.
      You can’t have accountability without agreed-upon standards. We can disagree about the standards themselves, and debate and discuss them until the cows come home. But if you want any accountability in education, you have to agree to bare minimum standards.

      • Harry says:

        Why hold kids to a benchmark that is either too low or high for their individual needs? There’s too much variation, perhaps not at the lower grades but certainly in middle school and high school. Why would you do that? Why not have standards for different groups of peers that are somewhat more in line with their different needs and abilities? Nobody wants to address the real world. I think Common Core is trying to advance a false notion of academic and social equality of everyone, which will never happen.

        It would be far better to challenge kids with goals that are realistic for them as individuals, not some fake idealistic agenda of “everyone’s equal”.

        • Three Jack says:

          “It would be far better to challenge kids with goals that are realistic for them as individuals…”

          So Harry, you want government to judge individual kids to determine the ‘realistic’ goals for each? Why not give all kids a decent opportunity to challenge themselves based upon a locally determined set of basic standards, then they can decide themselves how they would like to utilize what has been learned. Rich Galen has a column about this very concept –

          • Harry says:

            I read the article. Yes, I agree that we can’t limit the futures of students by limiting their educational exposures. However, when you force students to adhere to the same standard while failing to acknowledge that they don’t learn at the same rate or in the same way, they will either be dumbed-down and bored and fail to reach their potential, or they will be unable to keep up and will become frustrated and drop out and be deprived of finding a path that is best for their development. One size does not fit all.

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