Aug 20, 2020 - Economy & Business

Poll: School reopening plans will factor into voting decisions

Data: Murmuration/Morning Consult national tracking poll; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios
Data: Murmuration/Morning Consult national tracking poll; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Candidates' positions on reopening schools could affect how people vote in November, according to new poll results from a Morning Consult/Murmuration national survey of 2,200 voters.

Details: 34% of adults said they would be much less likely to support a candidate for local office who pushed for schools to open for in-person learning in the fall, and 25% said they'd be much more likely to support a candidate who backed online-only learning.

By the numbers: By a wide margin, responding adults say they would be less likely (51%) rather than more likely (29%) to vote for local officials who push to reopen in-person schooling this fall.

  • 40% of parents of K-12 children who are Black, Indigenous or people of color said they'd be much less likely to vote for a candidate who pushed to fully reopen schools, compared to 26% of white parents of K-12 children.
  • 55% of liberal respondents agreed, compared to 32% of moderate voters and 19% of conservative voters.

Trust in government's ability to safely reopen schools has plummeted, per the survey.

  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos scored low levels of trust with 29% of respondents saying they trust her a lot or some.
  • President Trump is barely ahead of her at 32%.
  • The overall federal government isn't doing much better, at 36%.
  • Trust is much higher in local governments, with 60% saying they trust it to operate schools safely.

Of note: Even among voters who are favorable toward Trump, fewer than half (48%) say they trust DeVos a lot or some to ensure schools operate safely during the pandemic.

Teachers and parents, on the other hand, enjoy high levels of trust, both with 71% of adults saying they trust them some or a lot.

  • Interestingly, people do seem to distinguish teachers unions from teachers overall. Teachers unions have a 17-point deficit in trust (54%) compared to teachers generally.
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