New Poll Shows 78% of Tennesseans Support Education Savings Accounts

Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. conducted a statewide survey in Tennessee between January 31st and February 4th. The sample of 625 registered Tennessee voters revealed that 78% of Tennesseans support Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), and higher rates support specific proposals with more details.

Statement from Shaka Mitchell, Tennessee State Director for the American Federation of Children:

“During last year’s campaign season, many candidates spoke boldly about parental choice in education. The polling shows that voters were listening and expect those promises to result in laws that are just as bold.

“When asked if they want $7,500 of their own tax dollars to customize their child’s K-12 education as they see fit, and that money could even be rolled over year-by-year and used for college savings, 80 percent support ESAs. Along with the overwhelming majority of Tennesseans, we are excited to see a new era of educational freedom in the state.” 

Details: 

General ESA proposal: 

“Education Savings Accounts, also known as E-S-A-s, allow parents to use their education tax dollars to customize their child’s learning and development. Approved ESA expenses include technical training, K-12 school tuition, or even special needs therapies from an array of providers, including public and private schools or tutors. Knowing this, would you support or oppose the Legislature passing an ESA program in Tennessee?”

Support:

78% Overall

85% of Republicans
75% of Independents
68% of Democrats

79% of East Tennesseans
78% of Middle Tennesseans
75% of West Tennesseans

Specific ESA proposal ($7,500 back in bank account; college savings): 

“If Education Savings Accounts are passed by the legislature in Tennessee, you would essentially get back $7,500 of your own tax dollars into a bank account for you to spend on your child’s education. You could spend the tax dollars you get back on career and technical training, K-12 private school tuition, tutoring services, or even special needs therapies from your choice of providers to customize for your child’s K-12 education. Any remaining funds could also roll over in the account year-by-year to be used for college education. Knowing this, would you support or oppose Education Savings Account legislation?”

Support:

80% Overall

86% of Republicans
77% of Independents
75% of Democrats

82% of East Tennesseans
81% of Middle Tennesseans
77% of West Tennesseans

For more details on the poll, see the poling memo here:
https://www.federationforchildren.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/02.07MEMO-MASON-DIXON-TENNESSEE-STATEWIDE-POLL.pdf