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Undecided on today’s Tuck vs. Torlakson race? You are not alone

Craig Clough | November 4, 2014

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torlakson and tuck vergaraAccording to a recent USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll, 28 percent of likely voters were still undecided on the State Superintendent of Public Instruction race going into today’s election. This is despite roughly $30 million in combined campaign spending for Marshall Tuck and Tom Torlakson, both Democrats, and with education as the top priority for many California voters.

“Education has now surpassed the economy as the No. 1 issue on voters’ minds in this election, so it’s a race that’s being conducted outside the confines of partisanship that marks the other down ballot races,” Drew Lieberman of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research said on a call with reporters yesterday, discussing the poll. “It’s also a race that sort of features an issue on which people are particularly concerned and aware, but have not yet made up their minds.”

One topic at the heart of the race is the state’s reform movement, which is backed by deep-pocketed supporters and aims to expand charter schools, versus the power and influence of the teacher unions.

Torlakson, the incumbent, has the backing of the political establishment and the state’s two large teachers unions, while Tuck was a charter school administrator and has the backing of reform groups as well as editorial boards throughout the state.

“The argument can be made that this is the most important election on the California ballot this year. That’s not because the superintendent’s office is particularly powerful. But no matter what the outcome, this represents a very important step in the growing debate over education policy in California,” Dan Schnur, director of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll, told reporters.

Schnur added that the superintendent’s race “is one of those rare campaigns that is much more important than the office itself.”

Dave Kanevsky of American Viewpoint theorized that the reason there are so many undecided voters despite education being the top issue is because people can’t fall back onto any partisan lines, and that both sides have spent about the same large amount of money getting their message out.

“There’s a lot of information on both sides, but [voters] don’t know how to vote and they in essence don’t want to make the wrong vote,” Kanevsky said.

So, if you are one of those undecided voters out there and you still haven’t voted, below is a roundup of LA School Report‘s important stories about the state superintendent race:

Polls in California close at 8 pm.

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