NEW POLL: Dems Lose Historic Lead on Education in Battleground States

Press Releases

July 28, 2023

July 28, 2023

Contact: Victoria Fosdal

New Battleground State Poll Shows Dems Lose Historic Lead on Education
New investments, public school choices offer path to reconnecting with voters

NEW YORK, N.Y. (July 28, 2023) – A new EdTrends poll of voters in four battleground states released today by Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) shows Democrats ceded trust on education to Republicans as voters note concerns over lingering pandemic learning loss.

Democrats, who once held a double-digit lead on trust in education, are now trailing Republicans (-3 percentage-points) among all voters in four battleground states—Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and North Carolina on this issue. However, Democrats are still outperforming their Republican counterparts when it comes to trust on other hallmark issues where Democrats have historically maintained strong advantages.


  • Democrats led Republicans on ensuring women have access to quality healthcare (+21 percentage-points, a -24-point gap compared to public education).
  • Democrats led Republicans on dealing with climate change (+13 percentage-points, a -16-point gap compared to public education).
  • Democrats led Republicans on reducing gun violence (+7 percentage-points a -10-point gap compared to public education).

The survey found nearly six out of 10 parents did not see improvements in their schools, despite historic levels of pandemic relief investments over the past three years. However, voters who reported seeing some improvement in the past year said they trusted Democrats on education over Republicans by a 12-percentage point margin (46% to 34%). These improvements included high-impact tutoring, after school and summer learning programs, and better school facilities.

Encouragingly for Democrats, the survey showed strong favorability among all voters, including Democrats and Independent voters for public school choice, including public charter schools (64% and 66%), public magnet schools (62% and 60%), and career academies (70% and 67%). Despite Republican choice programs in these states, voters still prefer the Democratic vision of public-school choice by 35-percentage points (68-32%).

“The crisis in education has mounted into one voters simply cannot ignore,” said DFER CEO Jorge Elorza. “Voters—especially parents—want to see more choices for their children. Republicans are capitalizing on this. Embracing public school choice isn’t just the right thing today, but it will help Democrats reconnect with frustrated voters and families who know that more of the same won’t fix our public education system.”

The representative poll was conducted by Emerson College Polling between July 17-19, 2023, among voters in Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, and Nevada. Data was collected by contacting cell phones via SMS-to-web, email via a consumer list of emails, and an online panel. The sample size is n=1,200 with a credibility interval of +/- 3%. 

You can view the poll results here. Additional crosstabs 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.