NEW YORK — A survey released today by the College Board identifies education as the sleeper issue of Campaign 2012. Although education hasn’t traditionally dominated media coverage on the campaign trail, swing state voters clearly believe it should be given more attention. With no party holding a distinct advantage in reflecting voter priorities on education, the issue is up for grabs in swing presidential states and key Senate races.
“The message voters are sending to candidates is clear: ‘Don’t Forget Ed’,” said Gov. Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board. “People in every region of this country and from all economic backgrounds feel that education is getting short shrift in this campaign. They want the candidates to give more time and attention to their plans for improving educational opportunities in America.”
The College Board Swing State Education Survey reveals that education is a top issue for voters in this year’s elections, ranked only behind jobs and the economy and on par with government spending. In addition, 70 percent of independent women in swing states believe that “education is extremely important” in this year’s elections for president and Congress. This call for a renewed focus on education will be heard more frequently thanks to a campaign announced today by the College Board.
“Don’t Forget Ed,” the College Board’s call to elevate education in the presidential campaign, will launch next month and will continue through Election Day in November. The national, grassroots effort will provide students and others concerned about education a vehicle to press for education to be a priority during the political contest of 2012.
Citing the fact that 3 out of 4 voters believe that postsecondary education is important to achieving success in the workplace, Caperton said, “Voters understand that postsecondary education lies at the heart of the American Dream. The constituencies we serve, especially students, teachers, parents and administrators, want to hear answers to the tough questions we face. How can America reclaim its position atop the academic ladder? How can education be both better and more affordable? These questions affect every aspect of our country’s future, including economic success and employment opportunities.”
The Don’t Forget Ed campaign is designed to galvanize these audiences and ensure that their voices are heard, putting pressure on candidates to respond. More details on the campaign, which will launch in May, will follow. To stay informed and participate in Don’t Forget Ed, please visit www.dontforgeted.org.
In a survey conducted by Hart Research Associates and North Star Opinion Research, voters in key swing states made it clear they want to hear more on candidate plans for improving educational opportunities.
Survey results include:
- Education is a top issue for voters in this year’s elections, ranked only behind jobs and the economy and on par with government spending.
- Focusing on education is seen as a means of getting the economy back on track.
- Large majorities of swing state voters believe improving access to a quality education will have a big impact on America’s ability to compete in the global economy, young people’s ability to get good jobs, and the quality and safety of communities.
- Three in four voters believe that a post-secondary degree is important to achieving success in the workplace.
- Candidates who place a priority on education are viewed through a positive lens. They are seen as “forward looking,” “caring about ensuring opportunities for all,” “in touch with the concerns of the average family,” and “understanding what it takes to compete in today’s global economy.”
- There is widespread support for increased funding of education, and a majority of voters (55%) would be willing to pay $200 more in taxes to do so.
- Voters say increased public funds for education should be used to ensure elementary and secondary schools offer well rounded curricula in arts, music, physical education, and to hold down the cost of college tuition.
- At the state level, education is seen as a top policy priority, while feelings toward the federal government’s role in education are mixed. Three in four believe education is an important issue for the president and Congress to address, but the majority say the federal government is doing too much that would be better left to the states.
- Nevertheless, voters say increasing the affordability of college, ensuring students graduate high school, and improving the quality of public schools should be top goals for the president and Congress to address.
- In terms of the upcoming elections, voters look more favorably on candidates whose education positions address college affordability and emphasize the importance of making America a leader again in post-secondary degrees.
- Democrats are slightly better positioned than Republicans when it comes to reflecting the priorities of swing state voters on the issue of education. Yet, neither party enjoys a distinct advantage.
From March 14 to 20, 2012, Hart Research and North Star Opinion Research conducted a telephone survey on behalf of the College Board among 1,839 registered voters across nine key swing states: three in the Southeast (Florida, North Carolina, Virginia), three in the Southwest (New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado), and three in industrial states (Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania). Approximately 200 interviews were conducted among registered voters in each of the nine swing states in the sample. For reporting purposes, each state was weighted to reflect its proportion of the electorate across these nine swing states.
About the College Board
The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT® and the Advanced Placement Program®. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and schools. For further information, visit www.collegeboard.org.
Contact: The College Board Communications Office 212-713-8052 firstname.lastname@example.org.