Poll: 47 Percent Of North Dakotans Oppose Measure 3, 21 Percent Support


According to theĀ Fargo Forum poll, Measure 3 (reforming the governance structure of higher education) probably isn’t going to pass. Neither the “yes’s” or the “no’s” have a majority, but the “no’s” definitely have a strong plurality. They’re at almost 50 percent, while the “yes'” have just 21 percent.

This is what happens when the Legislature puts a controversial reform on the ballot, and then does almost nothing to support it. Disappointing, to say the least.

Reform in higher education is desperately needed as those who pay attention to this stuff know. But not everyone who sees the need for reform believes Measure 3 is the right path forward, and most of the voting public I’m afraid has really only heard that Measure 3 will threaten accreditation thanks to the university system’s vast network of students and alumni.

Legislators – including some who have spoken out against Measure 3 – tell me they see the problems in the university system and will address them during the budgeting process. But I’ll believe it when I see it.

When Measure 3 goes down – which seems a foregone conclusion at this point – the university system will likely take its failure as a message from the public that they’re ok with the run-away spending, sky-high costs, and lackluster academic outcomes of the status quo.

It will be full-speed ahead while taxpayers and students get the short end of the stick.

Measure 3 was never a silver bullet that would fix all that ails the university system. But it failing will provide a bulwark against future attempts at reform.

What a shame. The botched handling of this measure has done more harm than good.

Here is the full polling memo, as well as the methodology.