NEW POLL: Concerning Trend and Real Opportunity for Democratic Leaders Ahead of 2024 Election Season

Press Releases

April 18, 2024

April 18, 2024

Contact: Lynn Sexton

Concerning Trend and Real Opportunity for Democratic Leaders Ahead of 2024 Election Season
New Data Reveals Shift in Parental Priorities Towards Quality Education, Democrats Must Emphasize Outcomes in
Education Policy Agenda

NEW YORK, N.Y. (April 18, 2024) – Today, Democrats for Education Reform partner Education Reform Now Advocacy released results from an extensive study in collaboration with Impact Research and BSP Research. Seeking to better understand voter sentiment ahead of the 2024 election season, the findings reveal both a concerning trend and a significant opportunity for Democratic leadership.

Prior to Covid, Democrats typically enjoyed double digit advantages over Republicans on education, but that traditional advantage has continued to slide, as evidenced clearly in ERNA’s new polling. The data shows that while Democrats still lead by 15-percentage points in trust on initiatives that prioritize “caring” for students, such as ensuring equality and providing essential services like free lunch and after-school care, the advantage has significantly eroded—down to a 1-percentage point lead over Republicans—on education measures that “deliver” for students. Specifically, voters no longer view Democrats as the party that will educationally prepare kids for future economic success. 

The perception that Democrats “care” about education but do not “deliver” on education is shared across various demographics, including Independents and core Democratic voters. When voters were asked whether they believe that Democrats care about education and thereafter were asked whether Democrats will deliver on education, there was a striking dropoff:

  • Independent voters: -16 points
  • Latino voters: -10 points
  • Black voters: -9 points
  • Democratic voters, writ large: -7 points

“This is a wake-up call for Democrats,” said DFER CEO Jorge Elorza. “If Democrats want to deliver for their constituents and win back voter trust on education, they have to offer a vision that both delivers results and resonates deeply with voters.”

While voters are still primarily motivated by ongoing worries over the economy, with a significant majority of voters and parents (59%) believing that young people will be economically worse off than previous generations, the data also illustrates that voters believe education is the key to driving future economic prosperity. The survey results further showed broad bi-partisan support for public school choice and offered a clear path forward in addressing voters’ concerns: Democratic leaders need to embrace improved access to public school options and they must focus on delivering high-quality results that prepare young people for the economy of the future.

“Choice resonates deeply with voters,” Elorza continued. “Since COVID, several Republican states have adopted private school choice laws, but there has been no alternative education vision offered by the left. As such, we’ve lost ground on an issue that was historically a strength for us and continues to be incredibly important to our voter base. With important elections on the horizon, Democrats must embrace an education vision based on improved access to high-quality public school options.”

Matt Hogan, Partner at Impact Research who helped conduct the polling, reiterated Elorza’s cautioning, saying, “To make up the ground they have lost on education, Democrats need to meet voters and parents where they are by focusing more on ensuring that students are learning the skills they need to succeed as adults.”


This study consisted of a series of three virtual focus groups and a nationally representative poll. The three virtual focus groups were conducted by Impact Research between December 5-6, 2023, consisting of swing voters between the ages of 25-55 with children in public school. The groups were split by race, with one group each of White, Black, and Latino parents. The sample size is n=1,200 with a credibility interval of +/- 3%. The survey was fielded online by BSP Research from February 2-12, 2024. The sample size is =2,500 registered voters in total, including: n= 1100 White; n= 500 Latino; n=500 Black; n=250 AAPI; and n=922 parents with children age 18 or younger. The questionnaire was conducted in either English or Spanish, according to preference, and results have been weighted to census estimates of the profile of national registered voters. There is a credibility interval of +/-2.0%.

You can view the summary memo here. Additional crosstabs available upon request.