Americans like vouchers even less than they used to


by David Safier

Since 2011, the annual PDK/Gallup Poll on American attitudes toward public schools has asked this as one of its questions:

Do you favor or oppose allowing students and parent to choose a private school to attend at public expense?

The answer is, Americans oppose the concept of vouchers, and the numbers are growing. Here are the results for the past 3 years.


It looked like the idea was getting more popular in 2012 — 44% in favor, up from 34% in 2011 — but it took a real nosedive in 2013, plummeting 15 points to 29% favorability.

Pro voucher folks are crying foul. "Bad question. You didn't use the word voucher!" In other words, they think they've sold the word "voucher" well enough that the bamboozle factor would make people think they're in favor of something they really oppose. It's like when they get people to say they don't like Obamacare, but when the bill is broken down piece by piece, people like it. "But look," conservatives shout, "people don't like Obamacare!"

Conservatives have better Mad Men than progressives, and they have more money to spread their message. But if you get down to the policy level, the fact is, conservatives, Americans just aren't that into you.

So why do we have more and more states adopting vouchers and tuition tax
credits, which are vouchers by another name? The answer is, they're
voted in by the legislature. So far as I know, voters have opposed
vouchers every time they've been put to a statewide vote.


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