Phoenix, AZ (August 7, 2019) Data Orbital is pleased to release results from a statewide survey of Arizona’s registered voters, commissioned by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The survey covered voter sentiment on various education policy proposals, such as Results-Based Funding (RBF) and dollars following the student.
The survey found that the majority of voters are happy with the direction of the state (51%) with only 32% saying the state is on the wrong track. This also largely tracks with the fact that Governor Ducey has a favorable perception in the state (36% favorable, 26% unfavorable).
Voters feel passionate about the issue of education and still wish to see more dollars invested but are not aware of recent gains made. 40% of voters surveyed think that the average teacher salary in Arizona is at least $15,000 below the national average. Nearly 65% of those surveyed were unaware of whether their students’ teachers received pay increases as a result of Governor Ducey’s 20×2020 teacher pay plan. Only 35% of voters were aware that the recently passed state budget included $600 million in new dollars.
When it comes to tax increases in support of education, voters strongly favor a sales tax increase (44.9%) over other options including property tax and state income tax. Only 19% indicated not wanting their taxes increased in support of K-12 education*. Support for a proposal to increase sales tax from six-tenths of a penny to a full penny came in at 58%, with only 28% opposing. But support for a proposal to increase sales tax to a penny and a half dropped to 45%, with 40% opposing.
Most importantly, the survey found that Results-Based Funding remains the preferred method of funding for voters (versus simply funding high poverty schools without any results metrics attached). When given the choice, 55% of voters chose Results-Based Funding. Results-Based Funding also received bipartisan support, coming out as the preferred method across Republicans, Democrats and Independents. Hispanic support for Results-Based Funding was also strong, with 56% of Hispanics surveyed choosing Results-Based Funding over the alternative. Other sub-groups that preferred Results-Based Funding include both males and females, those with a high school diploma, voters with a master’s degree, and those who identify as “somewhat progressive”.
Finally, when asked about a current issue involving Navajo students, over a third of voters (36.9%) stated that the Legislature should take up legislation allowing Navajo parents to send their kids to schools outside the geographic boundaries of reservation lands, even if located immediately across state lines. Meanwhile, only 15% preferred requiring Navajo families to repay the money for their children’s schooling to the Arizona Department of Education.
George Khalaf, President of Data Orbital, issued the following statement: “While we have seen considerable local and national attention focused on Arizona’s education system and the gains made at the legislative level and the ballot box in recent years, voters are still significantly under-informed about the state of education in Arizona. When it comes to education funding, nearly half of voters prefer a sales tax over other methods. When presented with actual policy proposals, we found that voters want to see more accountability in education funding and more flexibility in dollars following a student. Support for Results-Based Funding is strong and widespread, crossing partisan boundaries and drawing strong favorability from Hispanic voters. Looking ahead to 2020, education will continue to be a significant factor with 22% of voters ranking it their top issue, just behind healthcare and immigration.”
This poll of 550 registered voters was conducted through a live survey that collected 50% of the results from landlines and 50% from cell phones. It has a margin of error at plus or minus 4.18%, with a 95% confidence interval. Respondents were weighted on a number of different demographic figures based on registered voter data in Arizona. The poll was conducted over two days from July 2nd-3rd. Toplines and demographic data can be found here and cross tabs here.
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