I think the snubbing of Jeffords by G. Dubya & Co. had a lot to do with this. The message the Republicans were sending him was that if he voted his concience and opposed them, they would stomp him. Not inviting him to the "Teacher of the Year" ceremony when the teacher was from his home state was really rather nasty. And as the parent of a special kid, I was very interested to hear that he and Bush differed on Bush's cutting of the special ed budget.
I grew up in a family of Illinois Republicans, who were not nasty people. I find it really hard to believe that decent, normal Republicans around the country think it's a good idea to despoil wilderness areas and cut education funding. The few bucks I will get back as a result of lower taxes will not pay to educate my kid. I couldn't put him in private school even if I could afford it--there are no private schools that I have been able to find for a kid like him. The few special private schools that are around are for autistic kids with such severe behavior problems that the public schools can't deal with them.
My husband and I both work for our livings and don't depend on things like welfare or medicare, but there are really some things that just have to be taken care of by public funding. A monster tax cut is only going to hurt my kid.