It may be a royal pain in the behind – and unfair to a majority of school district patrons who wish to tax themselves for better facilities – but a new Idaho Politics Weekly poll finds there is not public support to change the state Constitution’s two-thirds majority requirement on school bonding.
You can see the difficulty with the 66 percent level in this Idaho State Journal story about bond elections last March.
One school district failed to get a new high school built, even though 65 percent of the voters wanted the new bonding.
And so some Idaho officials have been talking about an amendment to be put before the Legislature, and if passed by super-majorities there would go to citizens for approval.
The new survey by Dan Jones & Associates finds that Idahoans are mixed on whether to amend their constitutional two-thirds school bond requirement.
But most are still against it.
Jones finds that 49 percent of all Idahoans oppose changing the two-thirds school bond constitutional requirement to a simple majority requirement – as it is in most western states.
Forty-four percent said they favor such an amendment, should the Legislature put it before them.
And 8 percent didn’t know.
Typically women are more favorable to school spending than are men since they are more responsible for their children’s educations.
Jones finds that 49 percent of Idaho women want the Constitution changed, 43 percent oppose and 9 percent don’t know.
Among men, 39 percent want the bonding change, 54 percent are opposed, and 6 percent didn’t know.
Republicans control all state offices and the Legislature. Accordingly, it's hard to get something changed if most Idaho Republicans stand against it.
-- 54 percent of Republicans oppose changing the Idaho Constitution to reduce the two-thirds school bonding requirement.
-- 41 percent of Republicans favor the change, and 5 percent don’t know.
Democrats favor reducing the bond requirement from 66 percent to 51 percent, 72-25 percent; while political independents oppose the change, 53-39 percent.
Mormon families usually have a larger number of children than do non-Mormons.
Jones finds Mormons are against the bonding change, 57-35 percent.
Catholics favor the amendment, 58-41 percent.
Protestants oppose it, 50-48 percent.
And those with no religion favor the change, 51-46 percent.
Except for a few demographic categories, the results are close, often within the poll’s margin of error.
Thus, if the GOP-controlled Legislature can find the super-majority to pass such an amendment, it may be school supporters could rally the needed 50-percent-plus-one votes to approve the change at the ballot box.
Jones polled 508 adults from Aug. 20-31, margin of error of plus or minus 4.35 percent.