Recent survey shows strong voter support for increasing funding for public schools - AZEdNews
Sections    Tuesday March 28th, 2023

Recent survey shows strong voter support for increasing funding for public schools

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  • Joshua Ulibarri and Julia Silverman   |   Lake Research Partners

LRP Survey Snapshot

A recent survey, conducted by Lake Research Partners, continues to show strong voter support for increasing funding to public schools, and for passing this year’s potential funding proposition.

Support for education funding and the potential propositions is incredibly consistent.

LRP has polled for education activists since 2017 on potential funding propositions and each step of the way, across at least 7 surveys, support has never wavered – more than six in ten voters have consistently supported increasing funding and nearly six in ten have consistently supported potential propositions (with different language over time).

Today, even as the coronavirus dominates headlines and Arizonans are concerned with health care and the economy, voters continue to strongly support a proposition that increases funding for public schools by raising taxes on the wealthiest Arizonans. If the proposition is on the ballot, voters will likely pass it.

Here are the key findings from the most recent statewide survey:

  • If the election were held today, six in ten voters would vote yes on the proposition, including more than half who would strongly vote yes.ii Sixty percent of voters would vote yes, including

51% who feel that way strongly. Only a third (32%) would vote no. Voters are familiar with the public debate, they have processed the arguments, and more than three out of four have solid attitudes (77% combined would strongly vote yes or no). Very few of them are undecided – just six percent. Even the pandemic, which

closed the economy, and school building closures, has had little impact on public attitudes. Voters know what they want, and they want more funding for public schools.

A majority of both women and men support the initiative, with 61% of women and 58% of men voting yes. Moreover, a majority of Anglos and Latinos vote yes, with 62% of Anglos and 62% of Latinos.  Support crosses the partisan spectrum and includes 84% of registered Democrats, a majority of registered independents/third party voters (57%), and 43% of Republican women (41% of all registered Republicans vote yes). The proposition garners majority support in all regions, 62%

in Phoenix, 59% in the rest of Maricopa County, 56% in Pima, 60% in the South, and 64% in the North.

  • As mentioned, LRP has been polling for this education coalition since 2017, and in every survey we have run testing approximate ballot language, support has been in the high 50s or low 60s. As the table below demonstrates, this has been true before the March 2018 Red for Ed moment, this was true when the Arizona State Supreme Court kicked the education proposition off the ballot in the summer of 2018, and this is true today in the time of coronavirus. Here is just a sample of that polling:
Recent survey shows strong voter support for increasing funding for public schools LRP-Survey-snapshot
  • Buttressing support for the proposition is voters’ strong and consistent desire to increase funding for public schools. Sixty-three percent of voters support increased funding for kindergarten through 12th grade in Arizona. Only four percent said it should be decreased, and 25% said it should stay the same.
  • As mentioned, these findings remain remarkably consistent even as coronavirus is capturing voters’ attention and concerns. The latest survey covered the Covid-19 pandemic with some depth and found that 66% of voters view coronavirus as a long-term issue that will not go away in the near future. This data shows that, even

as they consider the pandemic a longer-term issue, their focus on increasing funding for public schools has not wavered.

i Method: Lake Research Partners designed and administered this survey. It was conducted by telephone using  professional interviewers May 19 – 21, 2020. A portion was also completed online, after part of the sample received a text to their phone with a link to complete the survey online. The survey reached a total of 600 likely 2020 voters in Arizona. Telephone numbers from the sample were generated from a list of registered voters in Arizona, and the data was  weighted slightly by gender, age, education, race ask, race on file, parental status, party registration, party identification, and initial ballot. The electorate is broken down as follows: Gender: 47% male, 53% female; Race ask: 74% Anglo, 18% Latino; Party Registration: 32% Democrat, 38% Republican, 21% no party preference; Region: 19% Phoenix, 41% Rest of Maricopa, 16% Pima, 11% South, 13% North. The margin of error is +/-4%.

ii Proposition Language: This act provides additional funding for public education by imposing an income tax surcharge of 3.5% on taxable income above $250,000 annually for single filers and above $500,000 annually for joint filers; dedicates the additional revenue to raise salaries for teachers and student support services personnel, mentoring and retention programs for new classroom teachers, career training and vocational education programs in high schools, and the Arizona Teachers Academy; and provides for certain reporting and accountability measures.

iii Create new brackets with increases for those making above $250/500k annually.

iv Create a 3.5% income tax surcharge for those making above $250/500k annually.