Poll indicates English fuss not a talker
Arizona Republic
Mar. 1, 2006

Apparently, the raging political controversy at the Capitol over teaching children who struggle to learn the English language isn't all the rage around water coolers or dinner tables.

A new Arizona State University poll said that most Arizona voters (56
percent) do not know why a federal judge is fining the state $1 million a day. Only 44 percent of those polled had an inkling that the fine happened because Arizona failed to meet a judge's deadline to come up with a plan to pay for improving English-language instruction in schools.

And some people got caught bluffing. When first asked the question, about 52 percent of those polled said they knew why the judge imposed the fine. But upon further review, 8 percentof those folks said they didn't have a clue about the issue.

The statewide telephone poll of 375registered voters was done by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and KAET-TV. Of those who really knew about the issue, twice as many blamed the Legislature (32 percent) as Gov. Janet Napolitano (16 percent) for the stalemate. But nearly 40 percent say the governor and the Legislature should shoulder the blame equally.

The survey, conducted Feb. 23-26, had a sampling error of plus or minus 5.1 percentage points. The fine, for those keeping score at home, is at $21 million. The state Senate is expected to approve a plan today to bump up English-learning funding.

- Chip Scutari