Majority of state residents oppose school vouchers

Fifty-seven percent of respondents in the latest Elon University Poll disagree with the idea of using school vouchers to help parents pay for their children to attend private or religious schools instead of public schools, and nearly the same number believes doing so would weaken public schools.

Thirty-nine percent of respondents support school vouchers, and 37 percent said they believe vouchers would encourage competition, thereby strengthening public schools.

The poll, conducted Nov. 15-18, 2010, surveyed 520 North Carolina residents and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. The sample is of the population in general, with numbers that include both landlines and cellular phones.

Pollsters asked residents about some of the issues included in the proposed Republican legislative agenda in an effort to understand what North Carolinians think about some of these agenda items being pursued by the new GOP majority in the North Carolina General Assembly.

Other issues included:

Charter Schools

A majority of North Carolinians (53 percent) supports using public funding for charter schools in North Carolina; 36 percent oppose it. Despite the support, 60 percent of citizens want to keep the current cap on charter schools in North Carolina, while 30 percent of citizens believe the cap should be eliminated.

Sentiments about charter schools are generally positive

  • 64 percent agree with the statement, “charter schools improve student learning”;
  • 40 percent agree with the statement that that “charter schools harm the local schools system by taking away funding,” 49 percent disagree with the statement;
  • 69 percent agree with the statement “charter schools provide an education alternative to poorly performing public schools.”
  • 50 percent agree with the statement that “charter schools will improve public school performance through competition;” while 38 percent disagree.

State Television

A majority of state citizens are interested in a television station that would broadcast North Carolina state government proceedings – 33 percent are somewhat interested and 24 percent are very interested.

Those expressing interest in state government television were asked about the types of programs that would interest them; the most popular programming among those interested in a state government television station included:

  • Government proceedings – 16 percent
  • Economic development programs – 12 percent
  • Education programs – 12 percent