NEW POLL: North Carolina Voters Reject Raising Taxes to Improve Education, Support Increase in Teacher Pay, Prefer Budget Offsets to Pay for Teacher Raises

BestSchoolsNC Poll finds 60% reject raising taxes to improve education, 90% support raising teacher pay, and 82% of those say reallocate budget to pay for teacher raises

(Raleigh, NC – March 10, 2014) — BestSchoolsNC, a new nonpartisan, nonprofit organization leading a movement to make North Carolina’s schools the best in the nation, is releasing new polling numbers today which further detail the views of North Carolina’s registered voters on key education policy priorities.BestSchoolsNC is bringing parents, teachers, students, community leaders, and elected officials together to advocate for commonsense solutions that have broad consensus.

“North Carolinians expect results on education, and our poll finds they broadly believe our state can achieve results without raising taxes,” said Tammy Covil, Executive Director of BestSchoolsNC. “This view applies specifically to teacher pay. We found that voters are eager to reward great teachers, and would like our elected representatives to do that by reallocating funding from other areas of the state budget. Everyone has to make difficult budget choices at the family kitchen table, and folks expect their elected leaders to do the same. We can achieve results without raising taxes, and make progress toward our goal of making North Carolina’s schools the best in the nation.”

BestSchoolsNC promotes five fundamental rules of thumb to achieve its goals: The Best Teachers, The Best Opportunities, The Best Standards, The Best Policies, and The Best Parents make the Best Schools.To learn more about the views and opinions of North Carolinians on key education topics, BestSchoolsNC commissioned a statewide poll of 611 registered voters, conducted by American Insights.

BestSchoolsNC poll of 611 registered voters by American Insights

  • By 2:1 margin (30%-60%), NC voters do not believe “it is necessary to pay higher taxes to improve public education.”
    • Democrats, by a 10-point margin (39%-49%), do not believe it is necessary.
  • 90% of North Carolina’s registered voters believe teacher pay should be increased.
    • 54% of those who believe pay should be increased say it should be increased based on performance, while 46% support an “across the board” increase.
      • 59% of Independents who believe teacher pay should be increased say the increase should be based on performance, while 41% support an across the board increase.
      • 66% of older voters (65+) who believe teacher pay should be increased prefer an increase based on performance versus 34% support for an across the board raise.
    • 82% of those who believe teacher pay should be increased say it should be funded by reallocating the budget, while 18% support raising taxes to fund the pay raise.
    • 90% of younger voters (18-34) who support a pay raise say it should be funded by reallocating the budget.
    • Across party lines, 74% of Democrats, 83% of Independents and 92% of Republicans who believe teacher pay should be increased prefer funding the raise by reallocating the budget rather than raising taxes.
  • A 60% majority support the “recent plan announced by state lawmakers to increase base teacher pay by 14%, which will increase the salary of a third of North Carolina’s teachers.”
    • The plan earns its strongest support from Democrats (64%), then from Independents (61%), and then Republicans (56%).
    • Younger voters (18-34) are most supportive at 77%.
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  • 57% percent majority believe a teacher’s “professional performance” should most determine his/her pay.
    • An equal 64% of Republicans and Independents hold this view while 49% of Democrats agree.
    • While 49% of those 65+ agree with the majority, 20% of this oldest age group believes a “teacher’s level of education” should be the most determinative factor, more than any other age group.
  • 50% of voters support “basing a teacher’s salary, in part, on his or her students’ academic progress,” compared to 30% who oppose the idea.
    • There is remarkable consistency in support across party lines, ranging from 47% to 53%.
    • Younger voters (18-34) are the most supportive of merit pay (62%-25%).

METHODOLOGY: American Insights, on behalf of BestSchoolsNC, surveyed 611 registered voters in North Carolina between February 11th and 15th. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 4.0%. Mixed modal “Triple Helix” surveying methodology included 60% landline phone, 20% cell phone, and 20% online.  All respondents were asked questions concerning basic demographics, and the entire sample was weighted to accurately reflect the actual registered voter population in North Carolina according to age, race, gender, geographic area and party registration. On party registration, the sample precisely matched the registered voter population at 43% Democrat, 31% Republican, 26% Unaffiliated. 

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