For Whom the Voucher Polls
There's nothing a politico loves more than a poll backing up his or her position with popular support from the voting public. We're constantly inundated with "the people want this" and "the people want that" in an attend to get us jumping on the bandwagon. It's bad enough when you're John Q. Voter. I can't imagine what a pain it must be for legislators. You see, they're in a special position: they are both representatives of a distinct geographical area and of the state as a whole. Their job is to balance the interests of their constituents with the interests of the state's population to come to some kind of mutually agreeable outcome. It's a hard enough balancing act as it is, but what if the two of them collide?
This is the distinct possibility we face this November with the upcoming referendum on the universal voucher program. What should a legislator do if their district approves vouchers and the state as a whole rejects them? There's little doubt in my mind that the strong opponents and strong proponents will choose the answer best suited to their respective goals. Legislators in such districts will be in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" kind of scenario where no matter what they do, they're going to take heat for it. This will only be further complicated if, in the event of a defeat, post-mortem polls try and break down the "nay" votes by reason. If legislators see enough of them who voted against the specific implementation rather than the concept as a whole, they could re-introduce the legislation in the next general session with those tweaks and again be claiming to be doing what their constituents want.
This swings the other way too. In the event of vouchers being upheld, legislators could choose to take that as a stamp of approval on a plan that most proponents will admit will likely need some tweaks and changes. This wouldn't even factor in the "no" votes that generally support such a program but want to see changes as well. It seems that votes and polls don't actually give us a lot of the clarity we so strongly desire.
With all of the complications, I don't think there's a clear-cut answer on this issue. I'm inclined to say that legislators are primarily responsible for their constituency. What say you?