The Indy Star has an article by Mary Beth Schneider and Theodore Kim that takes a look at Gov. Daniels’ declining poll numbers. Apparently Hoosiers are not that fond of change for the sake of change.
About half of all adults in Indiana say Daniels has made too many changes too quickly since he became governor in January 2005, according to an Indianapolis Star poll taken last week. His approval rating has dropped from 55 percent a few months after taking office to 37 percent in the most recent poll.
His approval is down from 55% to 37%, among the lowest poll numbers recorded by the Star for a sitting governor since the Star began polling. On the subject of the toll road particularly, only 30% of those polled think the lease is a good idea whereas 60% think it is a bad idea.
Daniels’ reaction is much like that of his old master, George W. Bush:
“Doing the right thing may have to be its own reward,” Daniels said of
the poll numbers. “I’d be a lot more concerned about going weak in the
knees and breaking faith with what we said we’d do than about anybody’s
See, it’s not important that you actually be correct. It’s merely important that you think you are correct and you remain resolute in the face of any and all evidence or argument to the contrary.
I would have liked to see some poll data on what people thought about the Governor’s actions on Daylight Saving Time and the time zone. We do get one anectdotal statement from a Fayette County voter who feels misled on the time zones.
She said she thought Daniels was going to put all
of Indiana in the same time zone. Instead, federal officials decided 18
counties will now be on Central time with most of the state on Eastern,
though all counties will observe daylight-saving time starting April 2.“He might as well have left things the way they were,” Kendall said.
They found a purported Democrat who will consider voting for Daniels in the future because he is “aggressive” and “at least he is doing something.” That kind of reasoning is highly annoying to me. If you are doing the wrong thing, it’s worse than doing nothing, even if you’re doing it “aggressively.” The need to “do something” is part of why we have so many laws and regulations. Legislators come in to office feeling like they have to “do something” regardless of what it is. Since pretty much all they can do is pass laws, that something is always more laws. (Very rarely is repealing a law seen as “doing something.”) But I digress.
Consider this exchange on the Toll Road:
Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Lakeville, a supporter of
the governor’s plan, said Daniels’ biggest challenge is conveying the
merits and details of the Toll Road deal.“When
you have a chance to take on the heated questions one-on-one, people
begin to understand what the governor is talking about,” she said. “The
opponents have had a feeding frenzy on the fear and paranoia people are
feeling.”House Minority Leader B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, disagreed, replying, “People aren’t stupid. They’re against it.”Sen. Marvin D. Riegsecker, R-Goshen, a lease
supporter, said he believes that many Hoosiers are philosophically
opposed to privatization. He said they equate the governor’s zeal to
pass the Toll Road deal to the quickening tempo of the economy.“Globalization
is happening at a faster pace than we can keep up with,” Riegsecker
said. “It’s this phenomenon, and the speed at which it is happening,
that people feel uncomfortable with.”
Just as with the Governor’s “for Toll Road privatization or against the future” comment, from privatization supporters we see a dismissiveness of the concerns of Hoosiers. If citizens are opposed, it’s because they just don’t understand or they’re afraid of change. Maybe, just maybe, it’s because there are problems with the deal or it’s because Hoosiers are justifiably concerned that the deal has not been completely analyzed. The Governor does have a track record of jamming through half-baked legislation. Witness the time zone fiasco where rationales kept shifting and responsibility eventually devolved on county commissioners, and we wound up with two time zones in Indiana, same as before. Even if you are in favor of the time zone result, there is no doubt that the process used was a mess because it was poorly thought out. A 75 year privatization of a major chunk of Indiana’s transportation infrastructure is a bigger deal than how we set our clocks.
Update Taking Down Words has an excellent post on this story. My favorite passage:
Daniels, for his part, tells the Star he doesn’t give a tinker’s damn about their polling numbers. His folks offer a few explanations for why the Guv’s so unpopular, but they basically boil down to one thing: Hoosiers are slow-moving beasts who neither understand nor accept change.
Ah, the trusty old “you’re stupid, follow me” argument.