Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Poll: Tony Bennett Leads Glenda Ritz By Four, Many Voters Remain Undecided

Kyle Stokes & Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

Democratic state superintendent candidate Glenda Ritz (left) hopes to unseat Republican incumbent Tony Bennett on November 6.

Incumbent GOP state superintendent Tony Bennett leads Democratic challenger Glenda Ritz by a four-point margin, 40 to 36 percent, according to a new poll released Friday.

Nearly one-quarter of those surveyed by the Howey/DePauw Indiana Battleground Poll — the first independent survey to publish numbers on the race — remain undecided with four days remaining until Election Day.

Bennett’s lead is outside the poll’s 3.5 percentage-point margin of error. Still, it’s a “surprising result,” writes pollster Brian Howey. He continues:

As for definite votes, Bennett leads Ritz by just a 34-32% margin. Bennett, who ushered in a series of education reforms with the imprimatur of Gov. Mitch Daniels, has a fantastic fundraising advantage over Ritz, and should benefit from being part of the GOP statewide ticket which hasn’t lost an executive branch race since Democrat Jeff Modisett won the attorney general office in 1996. Ritz’s competitiveness appears to be fueled by teachers and their unions who have chafed under the new performance standards, and elements of the Tea Party movement which disapprove of the CORE curriculum that Bennett, as well as the Obama administration, has pushed.

We’ve written about the sharp contrasts in Bennett and Ritz’s policy views — contrasts evident in the debate I moderated between the two candidates.

The poll also showed Republican gubernatorial hopeful Mike Pence holding a 47-40 lead over Democrat John Gregg, with Libertarian Rupert Boneham pulling in 5 percent of the vote and 9 percent undecided.


  • Registered Republican

    Parents will be the key to this election, and every parent I know is supporting Ritz.

    • Parent and Voter

      Yes we were (the parents) especially after we saw the stress and heartache Mr. Bennett caused many of our favorite teachers. Never forget that when you have children in school and they come home and talk about how wonderful their teachers are, and then you have teachers for friends, and you come to know the teachers through Parent-Teacher conferences etc… you come to have respect and value for what they do. Seeing them in anguish, and knowing what Dr. Tony Bennett was putting them through pushed my vote for Glenda Ritz. I’m glad she won and i sincerely hope Indiana educators can now feel comfortable and happy that they decided to become educators instead of harangued by Tony Bennett’s hideous changes and policies.

  • Republicans for Glenda Ritz!

    Go Glenda, Go Glenda, Go Glenda, Go!

  • Jenny Robinson

    Kyle, thanks for all the attention you are giving to this race. I’d love to see a piece explaining how schools that serve children younger than those who take the ISTEP test are graded, and how the DOE justifies grading schools on the ISTEP performance of students other than their own.

    • kystokes

      Thanks Jenny, I saw Vic’s note. Good lead to follow up on.

  • Vote for Glenda

    I’m normally a Republican and I’m voting for Glenda! If you want your child’s education to be about EDUCATION and not just prepping for TESTING, vote for Glenda!

  • Horace Mann

    Dear Hoosiers,

    Over forty
    articles on my website attest to current state superintendent
    Tony Bennett’s systematic destruction of one of the finest, democratic
    institutions in Indiana – Public Education. With only today,
    November 5, 2012, before election, this one brief piece sums them up concisely.

    Only two types of education “reform” actually
    exist. One is to provide incentives to educators, such as allowing
    academic freedom to teach in meaningful ways (not teaching to a test). The only
    other real reform is for Indiana to eliminate childhood poverty. Tony
    Bennett has never been a leading vocal advocate for impoverished children, if
    he has even advocated for them at all.

    1. Tony Bennett has impeded teacher performance.

    With purposely mislabeled policies, Bennett deceitfully
    claims he has provided incentives to teachers. However, while he was at
    the helm, morale among teachers sunk to an all-time low, college enrollment
    in the field of education plummeted, great teachers abandoned the
    profession, and early retirement rates increased. His leadership has not
    produced better teachers; it has demoralized an entire profession.

    2. Tony Bennett has never advocated for the needs of

    While Tony Bennett was in office, $300 million dollars was
    cut from the education budget. Not once did he ever attempt to reverse
    that trend. As a republican, I understand eliminating wasteful
    spending. Fellow Hoosiers, to eliminate $300 million dollars from
    education when the state claims to have a two billion dollar surplus, compounded
    by the fact nearly 25% of Indiana children live in poverty, should be simply
    unacceptable, regardless of party affiliation.

    In fact, what Bennett has done to our most at-risk students
    is egregious. Tony Bennett has labeled children failures. Tony
    Bennett has shut down children’s neighborhood schools. Tony Bennett has
    sold children out to the highest corporate bidder.

    One may argue, as Bennett does, that test scores and
    graduation rates are up in Indiana. This is all phony data. Data
    will always be used in the way that serves the faction controlling and
    manipulating it. Always. If you do not believe this, there is no
    point to read further.

    What cannot be controlled and manipulated so easily though is
    genuine care for those you supposedly serve. Bennett has not genuinely
    cared or served educators. More tragically, he has not genuinely cared or
    served over one million Hoosier children for four unhealthy years.
    Bennett cannot pull this because he cannot serve two masters.

    Glenda Ritz understands the situation, and will sever the
    connections with Tony Bennett’s true master; the corporations poisoning
    public education.

    Fellow Hoosiers, please support public education at the polls
    tomorrow with a vote for Glenda Ritz.



  • Heather

    The children of Indiana deserve someone who actually cares about them and not just their test scores. PLEASE vote for Glenda Ritz

  • Ryan

    let’s go Glenda. My wife is a teacher and we need Bennett out ASAP!!!!

  • teachers

    Glenda = GOOD Bennett = BAD

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