Carolina Issues Poll

Carolina Issues Poll – April 2012

New Carolina Issues Poll shows strong voter support for public schools and teachers and strong opposition to the legislature’s funding cuts

NC Policy Watch is happy to announce the release of a special, public education edition of its Carolina Issues Poll. Periodically the staff of NC Policy Watch develops a series of questions on timely issues impacting state policy debates that are then vetted and posed to registered voters by the nationally recognized, Raleigh-based polling firm Public Policy Polling.

This month’s poll quizzed 500 voters from April 5 through 7 on their attitudes toward public schools in North Carolina and, in particular, the current contentious debates over education funding, teacher cuts and the growth in for-profit charter schools.

Here are the results:

In general, voters retain a favorable and supportive attitude toward public schools, worry that they are faltering under the strains and demands placed upon them by elected officials and overwhelmingly support higher better funding.

Q1 Do you have a generally favorable or unfavorable impression of your local public schools?

Favorable…………………………………………………..48%

Unfavorable……………………………………………….34%

Not sure …………………………………………………….18%

Q2 Some political candidates have suggested that our public schools are “broken” and “failing.” Do you agree or disagree with this sentiment?

Agree…………………………………………………………45%

Disagree…………………………………………………….41%

Not sure …………………………………………………….14%

Q3 Do you think your local public schools should receive more funding, less funding or about the amount they have right now?

More funding………………………………………………65%

Less funding.……………………………………………….13%

About the same..………………………………………….21%

Not sure………………………………………………2%.

When it comes to teachers, voters also remain very supportive of better pay and concerned about the ever-growing list of demands placed upon them.          

Q4 Do you think your local public school teachers are paid too much, not enough or about the right amount?

Too much……………………………………………………………9%

Not enough………………………………..…………………67%

About the right amount………………………………….22%

Not sure…………………………………………………………….2%


Q5
Do you think that North Carolina asks too much, not enough or about the right amount from your local public school teachers?

Too much………………………………………………………….32%

Not enough………………………………..…………………33%

About the right amount………………………………….25%

Not sure…………………………………………………………….10%

Another area in which voters are in broad agreement is the current funding situation. Overwhelmingly, they think cutting school personnel and increasing class size are bad ideas. They also hold the state legislature responsible for current shortfalls and trust local superintendents far more than legislators to understand and explain the effects of the cuts.

Q6 North Carolina public schools have fewer teachers, teacher assistants and other professionals during the current school year than last. Do you think this is a good thing or bad thing for North Carolina?

Good thing……………………………………………………….23%

Bad thing…………………………………………………………64%

Not sure ………………………………………………………….13%

Q7 Who do you trust more to tell you what effect recent budget cuts have had on public schools in your area: your local school superintendent or your state legislator?

Local school superintendent ……………………………..63%

State legislator ……………………………………………….16%

Not sure …………………………………………………………21%

Q8 Who do you think is most responsible for the education budget cuts that have been made in North Carolina: the state legislature, Governor Perdue or the federal government?

State Legislature……………………………………………..50%

Governor Perdue ……………………………………………21%

Federal government………………………………………..19%

Not sure ………………………………………………………..10%

Q9 Do you think that keeping class sizes small is an important tool in improving the quality of public education or that it is not an important factor?

Important factor……………………………………………..80%

Not an important factor …………………………………16%

Not sure ……………………………………………………….3%

Finally, on the state’s rapidly expanding experiment with charter schools, voters voiced a strong note of caution on the controversial issue of for-profit charters.

Do you think it is appropriate or inappropriate for the state of North Carolina to allow for-profit corporations headquartered and controlled outside of the state to run publicly-funded charter schools?

Appropriate ………………………………………………….28%

Inappropriate…………………………………………………57%

Not sure ……………………………………………………….15%

To read the entire poll, as well as the crosstabs, click here.

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