2nd Annual National School Choice Poll Released

Fully 70% of Americans express support for issue;

  • 64% of voters more likely to vote for candidate who favors expanding school choice
  • Strong support for choice from millennial and Hispanic voters

The American Federation for Children (AFC), the nation’s voice for educational choice, today released its second annual National School Choice poll conducted by Democratic polling firm Beck Research showing that 70 percent of Americans support school choice. The poll comes during National School Choice Week and found strong support for school choice among two critical voting blocs, millennial and Hispanic voters.
“The most important finding from today’s poll is that the concept of school choice has strong support among voters and in nearly every category we saw modest or incremental growth in support for school choice compared to 2015 results,” said Matt Frendewey, national communications director for the American Federation for Children. “Latino and millennials, two emerging voting blocs, support school choice in strong numbers, and voters are more likely to support a candidate who supports school choice. These factors will be critical as we move into the 2016 election cycle.”
As more voters tune into the presidential race, and candidates begin to talk more about issues, the poll results found that 55 percent of voters want to hear more about education and 64 percent are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports expanding school choice. 76 percent of Hispanic voters support school choice and 75 percent of millennial voters support school choice.
“In 2014, the teachers’ unions anti-school choice message was rejected by voters and in close races like Florida, Gov. Rick Scott’s support for school choice helped to double his support among African American voters, which was crucial to his victory,” said Kevin P. Chavous, founding board member of the American Federation for Children. “This poll proves what we’ve known for a long time – candidates who reject school choice will pay a political price.”
Chavous, a Democrat, former Washington, DC, City Councilman and one-time mayoral candidate, cautioned his party to recognize the importance of the survey’s results. “Democratic voters support school choice and the programs overwhelmingly benefit families represented by Democrats. Families will only tolerate being represented by politicians who oppose their child’s right to attend a quality school for so long and it’s time candidates in my party take back the civil rights issue of our time, stand up to the teachers’ union and support our parents who want more access to school choice.”
Key findings from poll:
70 percent fully support the concept of school choice, including 42 percent who strongly support it, while 24 percent oppose it.

  • Last year, 69 percent supported and 27 percent opposed.

65 percent support private school choice (32 percent oppose), when those surveyed were asked if they support, “opportunity scholarships, also known as school vouchers.”

  • Last year, this question found 63 percent supported and 34 percent opposed.

Support among Democrats has increased from 60% in 2015 to 65% in 2016 while Independents’ (66%) and Republicans’ (80%) preference for choice remains steady.
53 percent of voters support “school vouchers” (without using the term “opportunity scholarship”).

  • Last year, this question was split with 49 percent support and 49 percent oppose.

65 percent support Education Savings Accounts with only 29 percent opposed.
75 percent support public charter schools with only 21 percent opposing it.
The poll, conducted January 19-24, 2016 surveyed 1,100 likely voters, including an 800 person national sample, on questions related to educational choice, vouchers and charter schools.
Full polling memo: http://bit.ly/1UtmwvS.


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