Trump voters aren’t impressed with the president’s education agenda

Most of those who participated in the poll would be less likely to vote for lawmakers who supported education cuts.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 6, 2017, before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the fiscal year 2018 budget. CREDIT: AP/Susan Walsh
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 6, 2017, before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the fiscal year 2018 budget. CREDIT: AP/Susan Walsh

A significant number of Republicans and Trump voters oppose the White House’s proposed budget cuts to the Education Department, according to poll results released on Monday.

The poll, conducted by Hart Research Associates, is based on online interviews conducted from June 3 to June 5 and was done on the behalf of the American Federation of Teachers.

Nearly half of those who said they voted for Trump opposed the White House’s education budget, which would cut funding by more than 13 percent. The proposed cuts would eliminate $1.2 billion for after school programs that benefit low-income families and $2.1 billion for teacher preparation. The budget would also add $1 billion to school choice programs, such as private school vouchers.

Forty-two percent of Republican voters said there is too little spending on education, and 45 percent of Republican women said federal funding for public schools should be increased.

Sixty-six percent of Trump voters said budget cuts for services benefiting students with disabilities were unacceptable, and 56 percent of Trump voters said the same for increased private school voucher funding and an expansion of charter schools. Eighty percent of voters disapproved of cuts to services and programs for students with disabilities, and 76 percent said they opposed cutting public school funds while expanding school choice funding, such as vouchers and charter school expansion.

Trump voters were not much less likely than Clinton voters to call education budget cuts “particularly objectionable” — 45 percent compared to 52 percent of Clinton voters — out of a number of items on a list including health care, environmental protection, nutrition assistance, housing, agriculture, transportation, and international assistance and development.

Overall, 63 percent of those who participated in the poll said they would be less likely to reelect a senator or representative if they voted in favor of these cuts. Thirty-nine percent of Republican women and 41 percent of college-educated Republicans said they would be turned off by their senator or representative voting in favor of those cuts.

“Almost all of the cuts we tested are extremely unpopular. It ran the gamut from higher education all the way to kindergarten,” said Annie Norbitz, an analyst at Hart Research Associates.