Much of the narrative regarding the public schools this election season is that state government isn’t spending enough on teacher pay (see what respondents think about teacher pay here) or the public schools. With that in mind, the October Civitas Poll asked:
Continuing to think about education, do you believe student outcomes in public schools will improve if state government simply spends more money?
The responses were interesting.
The deadlock suggests that there is no overwhelming sentiment that more money will improve educational outcomes and that spending – or the lack thereof – is at the heart of North Carolina’s education ills.
How did the responses breakdown by party registration? As might be expected, only 32% of Republicans said “yes”, spending more money will improve student outcomes, while 59 % of registered Republicans said “no” more money would not; 9% of registered Republicans were undecided on the question.
Among Democrats, 52% agreed spending more money would improve the student outcomes, while 38% said “no” they would not and one in ten registered Democrats (10 %) were undecided on the question.
Among Unaffiliated voters the responses were more evenly divided; A clear 39% of registered Unaffiliated voters said “yes” more money would help student outcomes; 43 percent said “no” and 18 % were undecided.
Finally, if you analyze the data, a gender divide emerges. Women are more likely than men to say there are benefits from additional spending, by a margin of 47% to 42%.
Although only one question, the results reflect the deep divide that exists among North Carolinians regarding educational spending and student outcomes. Responses also provide little evidence for progressive assertion that most North Carolinians favor an expansion in state spending for education.
The divide is real and deep and underscores the fact that whichever side wins over the Unaffiliated voters will likely decide the debate.