Indiana

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.

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