Poll: Dems Trail Republicans in Trust on Education in Battleground Districts
Voters want focus on helping students make up for missed learning from pandemic, not race & identity
NEW YORK, N.Y. (July 13, 2022) — A new poll released today by Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) shows likely voters in Congressional battleground districts no longer trust Democrats over Republicans on issues related to education—a historic and deeply concerning reversal for the Democratic Party.
The poll, which was conducted by Impact Research, found that on education, voters want a focus on helping students make up lost ground from the pandemic, but think both parties—and especially Democrats—are more focused on how race and gender issues are taught in schools (R 47%, D 54%) than on helping students get back on track (R 33%, D 26%). Voters believe Democrats are also more focused on student debt relief (60%) than on catching students up (20%) from COVID-related interruptions.
By a 22-point margin, voters also said they would rather schools focus on preparing students for jobs in the future (56%) than getting back to teaching the way they were before the pandemic (34%).
“Our nation is facing an education crisis of historic proportions. Voters are clearly frustrated and eager for leaders who will embrace innovation to enable students to recover from the pandemic and succeed in their futures,” said DFER President Shavar Jeffries. “While this poll should raise alarm bells for Democrats, it also details how our party can combine resources and reforms to rebuild trust with voters and, most importantly, provide a high-quality education for every student.”
Additional findings of note include:
- Nearly nine-out-of-ten voters (87%) agree that students lost ground during the pandemic, and 60% say they’re still behind.
- By a nearly 40-point margin, voters want schools to focus on helping students make up lost ground (66%) rather than focus on issues of race and gender in schools (27%).
- Expanding one-on-one and small group tutoring was the most popular education proposal tested, even more popular than hiring more teachers or increasing security in schools.
- Voters were less likely (60%) to support a Republican candidate for voting against American Rescue Plan funding to increase apprenticeships, skills training, and vocational programs in America’s schools.
- Among Black and Latino battleground voters, Democrats lead by only 5 percentage points on the generic ballot, after winning them in 2018 by 82 and 36 points, respectively.
“This poll shows that Democrats’ historic advantage on education has been erased. While Democrats typically enjoyed a double-digit advantage on which party was more trusted on education before the pandemic, voters in these battleground districts now narrowly trust Republicans more on the issue,” said Matt Hogan, a partner at Impact Research.
The poll was commissioned by DFER partner organization Education Reform Now Advocacy. Impact Research conducted the survey of 800 likely 2022 voters in 62 Congressional battleground districts between June 14 and 21, 2022, via live phone and a text-to-web platform. The poll has a margin of error of +/-3.5%.
An analysis of the poll findings is available here, and the full poll can be found here. Crosstabs are available upon request.
About Democrats for Education Reform
Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) is a national political organization that supports elected Democrats and candidates for office who seek to expand policies and practices that increase educational equity for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds. It is a partner organization of Education Reform Now Advocacy, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization that supports DFER’s legislative and policy advocacy work. www.dfer.org.