Nearly half of independent voters say they don’t trust Republicans or Democrats to handle education policy, according to a new poll by a Democratic group.
The survey, conducted by Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), shows a stark partisan divide on education, with 88 percent of Democrats saying they trust their party on the issue, 84 percent of Republicans siding with theirs, and 49 percent of independents saying they don’t trust either party.
Democrats hold an edge over the remaining half of independents, with 24 percent saying they trust Democrats strongly or somewhat and only 18 percent siding with Republicans.
Education has become a hot partisan issue over the last few election cycles, playing a key role in upset victories, including GOP Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s in 2021.
The issue, along with divisiveness over book banning in schools and starkly different partisan views of school choice, is expected to play a central role in the 2024 presidential election.
According to the poll, Democratic and independent voters favor expanding school choice by improving public schools and creating magnet schools, charter schools and career academies. That option was favored by 70 percent of Democratic respondents, 64 percent of independent respondents and 50 percent of Republican respondents.
A school voucher system, generally favored by conservative policymakers, was favored by 50 percent of Republicans, 30 percent of Democrats and 36 percent of independent voters surveyed in the poll.
Hispanic parents overall were more likely to support school vouchers — 43 percent of Hispanic respondents said they would support vouchers over school choice, while 38 percent of white respondents and 33 percent of Black respondents agreed.
The poll, commissioned by the partisan DFER, asked respondents whether they had concerns about voting for Republicans, who “have inserted politics into our schools by banning books they don’t like.”
Most respondents said those actions raised concerns about voting for Republicans — 38 percent said they had serious concerns, 18 percent said they had somewhat serious concerns, 13 percent said they had “not too serious concerns,” and 21 percent said they had no concerns about voting for Republicans related to book bans.
The poll was conducted in April by Emerson College Polling for DFER via cellphones, email and an online panel among 1,000 respondents with a credibility interval of plus or minus 3 percent.