In a recent poll conducted by the Hart Research Associates for the American Federation of Teachers, nearly half of the people who voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election oppose his education agenda.
The poll is based on online interviews conducted from June 3 to June 5, 2017, with what Hart notes is a nationally representative sample of voters. Among the people interviewed, 45 percent voted for Donald Trump and 48 percent voted for Hillary Clinton.
In addition, 48 percent of the people who self-identified as having voted for Trump disapprove of the plans laid out in the president’s education budget.
That’s not surprising, considering the fact that nearly every GOP senator criticized parts of the spending plan.
“I believe significant reductions to programs like career and technical education, TRIO [the federal program that supports initiatives such as college readiness program Upward Bound], and Federal Work Study will make it harder for students to get into and complete college, and go on to well-paying jobs,” said Republican Sen. Roy Blunt. He added that the budget makes cuts to programs such as Impact Aid, which provides month to support schools and students located on federal land such as military bases and Native American reservations—areas that are not subject to property tax—which have not previously been accepted by Congress.
Most of the heat Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos are taking about the federal education budget cuts is because the cuts to federal education programs have a disproportionate effect on rural areas.
Seventy-four percent of voters in the Hart poll oppose the federal education budget cuts. That includes 98 percent of Democrats and 49 percent of Republicans. When it comes to Republican women, 55 percent oppose the budget cuts.
The poll looks specifically at certain areas of the cuts. For example 66 percent of Trump voters oppose the cuts to programs and services for students with disabilities. When it comes to taking funding from public schools that serve poor children while increasing funding for vouchers and charter school expansion, 56 percent of Trump voters disapprove. Reductions in spending on vocational and job training programs by cutting $168 million from career and technical education were opposed by 56 percent of Trump voters, while elimination of after-school and summer programs got a 59 percent disapproval rating from those voters.
A majority of Trump voters—51 percent—believe providing funding to public schools should be a priority, while 22 percent of them believe that providing funding for vouchers and charter school expansion is important. Catholic and evangelical Christian voters believe, by a significant majority (58 percent and 57 percent, respectively), that public school funding should be a priority.
In the interest of reporting any potential bias, SourceWatch says that Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group, the political division of Hart Research Associates is “one of the most respected and successful political polling firms in the country for Democratic candidates.”
But if the results of this recent poll are any indication of the average feelings among Trump voters, it sounds like senators who vote for the Trump-DeVos education budget may have something to worry about come election time.