ED Pulse Poll Results: How Important to You Are Each of the Presidential Candidates’ Positions on Education?

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In the spirit of this political season and in an effort to be topical without being partisan, the ASCD SmartBrief ED Pulse poll used the last two weeks before the election to obtain reactions to each of the two presidential candidates’ top positions on education, one per week. Working with ASCD’s communications and policy teams, ASCD’s Policy Points and a fact sheet from the University of Southern California on the election, ED Pulse sought to create a brief encapsulation of their positions. Note: the poll format limits option choices and character count, so these points were intentionally pared down.

Today’s write-up deviates from the typical weekly post in that we are reporting the results of nearly two weeks of polling – both the results from last week’s poll on Obama’s positions and this week’s on Romney’s. The poll results of Romney’s positions haven’t run in ASCD SmartBrief yet, but we’ve decided to share them because we’d like to provide a summary of the results before the election next Tuesday.

Last Thursday we asked which one of President Obama’s positions on education was most important in this election. First of all, nearly 20% felt none of these positions was important to them, while 7% felt all of them were important. There were three positions that were selected equally and as most important to the SmartBrief readers who responded to the poll. They were the President’s positions on:

  • School funding – Competitive grants will help states institute reforms and school improvement – (23%)
  • Higher education – Maintain federally issued student loans and monitor for-profit schools – (20%)
  • Accountability – States should establish their own goals for school quality based on rigorous standards – (19%)

The positions taken on School choice (Expand charter schools as another public school option for families) and Teacher evaluation (Incentives will prompt states to update evaluations and tie them to student results) were each selected as most important by fewer than 10% of these readers.

On November 1, the Ed Pulse poll asked which one of Governor Romney’s positions on education was most important in this election. These are the results to date as if 11 a.m., November 2. First of all, nearly 50% felt none of these positions was important to them, while 9% felt all of them were important. There were two positions that were selected equally and as most important to these SmartBrief readers. They were the Governor’s positions on:

  • School choice – Supports charter schools/allows students to bring any federal funding with them – (14%)
  • School funding – Would convert Title I funding into vouchers for students to use at any private or public school – (13%)

These three positions were each selected as most important by fewer than 10% of these readers:

  • Accountability – Parents would be given information about school quality and decide which schools their kids would attend
  • Teacher evaluation – Consolidate and block grant teacher training funds to states for teacher evaluation reforms and/or to eliminate tenure
  • Higher education – Opposes Direct Loan program; would encourage private student loans and private sector education providers

This survey question was included in ASCD SmartBrief, a daily education news roundup e-newsletter, which has 217,000 subscribers. Using ED Pulse, the weekly online poll, data was collected from 833 readers, starting on October 25, 2012 and 646 readers, starting on November 1, 2012. Online surveys do not provide a random sample, as participants are self-selected, meaning that a margin of sampling error cannot be calculated or quoted. In addition, the population and sample are limited to those with access to computers and an online network. However, online surveys have been shown to produce results that have proven to be reliable predictors of outcomes, including election results.

If you have a question on education that you would like to see addressed in a future ED Pulse poll, feel free to submit it in the comment section below, along with any other comments.

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