Party, Schmarty: Education Voters–Especially Parents– Are the New Swing Voters

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The National Association of Public Charter Schools just released new findings that show “education could become a single voter issue among parents, regardless of political party affiliation” and “education will likely be an issue of significance in upcoming elections this fall.”

That’s from a national poll of more than 5,000 parents of school-aged children, conducted by the Harris Poll and commissioned by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. The poll examined families’ educational choices and patterns, satisfaction with school options, and the likely significance of education as an issue in upcoming elections. The full report will be released later this summer.

From NAPCS:

Among initial key findings from the poll, data suggest education voters may be the new “swing” voters – for many parents who vote in both federal and state/local elections, education is a key consideration when they head to the polls and appears to become more important when voting in state or local elections. Majorities of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats support and want more public charter school offerings in their area, and many voters would be willing to vote for someone outside of their political party, depending on the candidate’s stance on education issues.

“Charter schools and parent choice have long enjoyed bipartisan support from lawmakers. This poll clearly shows support for education options is stronger than ever among parents, regardless of their political party, with 82 percent saying they would be willing to vote for someone outside their political party if their views aligned on education. The education voter is the new swing voter,” said Nina Rees, President and CEO for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Highlights on voter insights from the survey of 5,002 parents nationwide, conducted May 19 – 31, 2022, include:

  • 82% of parents are willing to vote for someone outside of their political party if their education platform aligned with their views.
  • 88% of Independents with 42% strongly agreeing
  • 81% of Democrats with 36% strongly agreeing
  • 79% of Republications with 31% strongly agreeing
  • 41% of Black parents strongly agreeing
  • 40% of Young parents (under age 35) strongly agreeing
  • 83% of parents agree that education has become a more important political issue to them than it was in the past.

Those who strongly agreed are more likely to be:

  • Democrats (43%)
  • Republicans (42%)
  • Parents with special needs children (45%)
  • Black parents (45%)

Around three in four parents say they:

  • Would consider sending their child to a public charter school if one were available in their area (74%).
  • Want more public charter school offerings in their area (77%).
  • Support expanding the number of slots in existing public charter schools in their area (81%).
  • 84% of parents agree that, although they may not choose a charter school for their child, charter schools should be available to families who would choose them
  • 71% of Black parents strongly agree that one size does not fit all when it comes to educating children.
  • 70% of Black parents and 63% of Hispanic parents strongly agree that parents should be able to have a choice in where their children go to school.
  • 53% of Black parents and 40% of Hispanic parents strongly agree that they want options for their children other than the district school they are zoned for or assigned.

Overall satisfaction with the quality of children’s education at charter schools is higher than in public district schools (46% charter schools vs. 35% district schools).

Among parents who vote in both federal and state/local elections, when asked if any considerations become more important to them when voting in state/local elections, education (55%) was the second most commonly selected issue, closely trailing taxes/taxation (56%).

For a more in-depth discussion, watch the Numbers Don’t Lie panel from the 2022 National Charter Schools Conference, recorded yesterday on June 21st.

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