POPULAR ISSUE: Mike Ross' advocacy of pre-K education has broad support, polls show.

New polling reported by Huffington Post shows strong bipartisan support for more education for children before kindergarten.

Voters are smart. They understand that more education before kindergarten is a necessity, particularly for kids most at risk of starting behind and never catching up.

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Only about half of children ages 3 and 4 are in pre-k programs and only about a third are in publicly funded programs.

Arkansas angle: Mike Ross, the Democratic candidate for governor, has made pre-K a key campaign issue. He says no child should be denied pre-K education on account of family income or ZIP code. Republican Asa Hutchinson isn’t interested in such bold talk. He calls it irresponsible. He’s likened pre-K to a welfare program. The most irresponsible of his backers have taken on social media to characterizing pre-K programs as incubators for future criminals. Poor minorities are destined to be criminals anyway, they seem to suggest. Why pay money to try to educate them? Screw ’em. Happily, polls indicate — even among Republicans — that sentiment isn’t a majority one. But it will prevail in policy under a Hutchinson administration.

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