Voters Aren’t Happy With K-12 Education

New Civitas Poll also reveals voter disapproval of Biden; approval of Cooper

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RALEIGH ­– The latest Civitas Poll found that a narrow majority of likely voters disapprove of the job President Joe Biden is doing, with 46% approval and 48% disapproval (4% refused to say). Approval was highest in the Raleigh-Durham media market and lowest along the coastal part of the state.

As the school year comes to a close and a debate over the teaching of Critical Race Theory heats up, a majority of likely voters are unhappy with the direction of education in North Carolina. Likely voters across the state were asked whether they believed education in North Carolina was headed in the right direction or off on the wrong track.

Fifty-five percent of those surveyed said they believed education was off on the wrong track, whereas 26% said it was headed in the right direction. The disapproval for education was even stronger among parents of school aged children, with 69% of this subset expressing their dissatisfaction.

“It is no surprise that so many North Carolinians believe that education is on the wrong track. They want a public education system laser-focused on academic excellence but too often find schools committed to ideological conformity and Left-wing political mobilization,” said Dr. Terry Stoops, Director of The John Locke Foundation’s Center for Effective Education.

Respondents were also asked if they believe classroom instruction in the local kindergarten through 12th grade schools has become more or less political. A clear majority – 65% – stated they believed classrooms have become more political in the past five years, whereas only 4% believed classrooms have become less political. Thirteen percent said they didn’t see a difference. Of the subset of parents, 73% stated they believe classrooms have become more political.

“The public’s perception of politicization in the classroom is unmistakable and could have an impact on the high level of dissatisfaction,” continued Stoops. “Fortunately, Republican lawmakers have proposed legislation that would begin to address concerns about politicization and indoctrination in the classroom”

Respondents were then asked about their support for a recently proposed bill in the North Carolina General Assembly that would require teachers to post copies of lesson plans used during the prior school year. A plurality (43%) of those surveyed expressed their support for such a bill, whereas 34% opposed and 14% were unsure or refused to answer.

The June Civitas Poll, conducted by Cygnal, on behalf of John Locke Foundation, also surveyed likely voters, gauging their perspective on personal finances and taxes. When asked their opinion on which states were more competitive–those with higher or lower taxes–51% stated they believed states with lower taxes were more competitive. Alternatively, 15% said they believed states with higher taxes were more competitive.

The survey then sought to understand voters’ perspective on a recently introduced tax reform bill in the state Senate, which would lower the personal income tax and eliminate the corporate income tax by 2028 among other things. Majorities of Republicans (67%), and Unaffiliated (50%) voters, and a plurality of Democrats (42%), voiced their support for such a bill.

“Good policy makes good politics, and state income tax cuts fit the bill in 2021,” said John Locke Foundation President Donald Bryson. “In this poll, voters say they feel the pressure from increased inflation and state income tax cuts would help their financial situations. State lawmakers would be wise to read these tea leaves.”

Voters were also asked about their opinion on a variety of other issues, such as generic congressional and state legislative ballots, enhanced unemployment benefits, and household spending.

Full results will be analyzed Thursday at noon via livestream on the John Locke Foundation’s Facebook page, YouTube channel, and website. Locke’s Senior Political Analyst, Mitch Kokai, will host the event, with analysis from Donna King, Editor-in-Chief of Carolina Journal.

METHODOLOGY: The survey was conducted June 17-20, 2021, by Harper Polling, a Cygnal company. It surveyed 600 likely 2022 general election voters and has a margin of error of +/-4.0%. Known registered voters were interviewed via live phones, SMS, and email invitation. This survey is weighted to likely 2022 general election voter universe.

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Poll Highlights

For questions, or to arrange an interview, please contact Mitch Kokai, at [email protected].

The Civitas Poll has conducted live-caller voting in North Carolina since May 2005. John Locke Foundation is the only public policy organization offering statewide independent, nonpartisan data on a regular basis. Our polls have provided vital insights on what North Carolina voters think of the leaders and issues facing the state and nation.

Founded in 1990, the John Locke Foundation is a Raleigh, NC-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit policy organization committed to working on behalf of truth, freedom, and the future of North Carolina.

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We are North Carolina’s Most Trusted and Influential Source of Common Sense. The John Locke Foundation was created in 1990 as an independent, nonprofit think tank that would work “for truth, for freedom, and for the future of North Carolina.” The Foundation is named for John Locke (1632-1704), an English philosopher whose writings inspired Thomas Jefferson and the other Founders.

The John Locke Foundation is a 501(c)(3) research institute and is funded solely from voluntary contributions from individuals, corporations, and charitable foundations.