Statewide Education Poll: Texas Democrats Must Seize Education Debate, Restore Trust with Texans

Press Releases

June 16, 2023

Statewide polling released by Democrats for Education Reform Texas shows demand for public school choice options, risks and opportunities for Democrats during the education debate.

Polling commissioned by Education Reform Now Advocacy during the recently completed legislative session, and released by Democrats for Education Reform Texas, shows Texans are demanding additional school choice options and trust Republicans to make additional education choices a reality for Texans. However, Democrats have a unique opportunity to own the education debate and take control of the school choice narrative by demanding additional choices be created within the public education system by advocating for secure schools, expansion of career training for teachers, expanding pre-k options, and increasing teacher pay. 

According to the polling completed by Impact Research, nationally known as President Biden’s pollster, by a 5% margin (43% to 38%), Texas voters trust Republicans on issues related to education. When asked which party voters trust on issues related to expanding school choices, trust for Republicans grows to a 10% advantage (45% trust the GOP and 35% trust dems). 

While the numbers seem bleak for Democrats, voters overwhelmingly support Democratic education priorities and prefer an education choice plan centered on creating options within Texas’ already robust public education system. The polling found:

  • 78% of voters support additional educational choices within the public educational system for families, such as more magnet schools, career academies, and non-profit public charter schools;
  • 90% of voters support increasing security at schools;
  • 88% of voters support increasing teacher pay;
  • 86% of voters support increasing career training options for teachers;
  • 80% of voters support expanding free public pre-k to every Texas family.

As the Texas Legislature prepares to convene for a special session on education funding and choice, Democrats have the opportunity to own the narrative on education. Polling found by a 36% margin, Texas voters prefer lawmakers create additional choices within the public education system (additional charters, magnet schools, and career academies) as opposed to creating choice through vouchers. The base of the Democratic Party — African American and Latino voters — are the largest proponents of creating additional public school options and remain the largest supporters of Texas’ public charter system.

  • Overall, 58% of Texas voters have a favorable opinion of Texas non-profit public charter schools;
  • Support for public charter schools is highest among African American voters (65% favorable, 20% unfavorable) and Latino voters (60% favorable, 21% unfavorable). The few subgroups with an unfavorable opinion of public charter schools include white Democrats (39% unfavorable, 37% favorable).
  • 68% of voters support creating choices outside their traditionally zoned public schools; this support is driven by African American voters (78% support choices outside traditionally zoned public schools) and Latino voters (71% support options outside traditionally zoned public schools);
  • However, voters of color remain the largest proponents of creating these additional choices within the public education system as opposed to vouchers (63% of voters of color prefer public choice options, whereas 52% of white voters prefer options within the public system). 

Texas Democrats can deliver for the children of Texas by supporting robust reform to Texas’ public education system and advocating for policies to ensure teachers have the resources necessary to prepare Texas children for the jobs of tomorrow. However, standing by and allowing Republicans to control the narrative and define the school choice debate will only hinder Democratic chances at the ballot box in November 2024. 

The poll was commissioned by DFER TX partner organization Education Reform Now Advocacy and was conducted by the national polling firm, Impact Research. Findings were based on online interview results and a text-to-web survey conducted March 27-30, among 500 likely 2024 general election voters in Texas. The margin of error for the full sample is +/- 4.4%. Additional crosstabs available upon request. Full results can be seen here.


About Democrats for Education Reform 

Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) is a national political organization that supports elected Democrats and candidates for office who seek to expand policies and practices that increase educational equity for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds. It is a partner organization of Education Reform Now Advocacy, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization that supports DFER’s legislative and policy advocacy work.