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Additional Survey Findings
Washington Post/Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard University
Issues Project: Education and the Schools

This analysis was conducted by Claudia Deane, Washington Post Assistant Director of Polling.

  1. EDUCATION AND CROSS-PARTY INTEREST
    • Who are the Democratic voters tempted by Bush's education policies?
      • They are somewhat younger, less well educated, and slightly more likely to be from the South. They scored lower on the knowledge scale than other Democrats.
      • One in five of those who reported voting in 1996 voted for Bob Dole (compared to 5 percent of Democrats overall). One in three call themselves conservative (compared to about one in five overall)
      • 37 percent say they are education voters. But they are also less likely to vote: 58 percent said they were absolutely certain to vote, compared to 75 percent of Democrats overall.
    • Who are the Republican voters tempted by Gore's education policies?
      • They are significantly younger than other Republicans and more likely to have school-aged kids. They are more likely to be education voters. They are somewhat wealthier. They are somewhat less likely to be born again Christians.
      • But they are still somewhat less likely to vote (though it's barely significant, and less so than the Democrats). These are hardly your loyal Republicans: Among those who voted in the 1996 election, less than half voted for Bob Dole, and a third voted for Bill Clinton. They are much more likely to be political moderates.

  2. SWING VOTERS
    {those who did not report a candidate preference in the unleaned Gore/Bush vote item}
    • WHO ARE THEY?
      • 56 percent are female. Compared to both Gore and Bush voters, they are less educated and make less money.
      • Fully 45 percent self-identify as Independents. Among those who do pick a party, 28 percent are Democrats and 13 percent are Republicans.
      • They are less likely to say they will vote.
      • 52 percent voted for Clinton in 1996, 18 percent each for Dole and Perot.
      • 37 percent are "education voters". They score somewhat lower than other voters on the education knowledge scale.
    • WHO DO THEY LIKE ON EDUCATION
      • Not much of a preference overall, about a quarter pick Bush and another quarter Gore, while nearly half say 'neither' or 'don't know'
      • The same pattern holds on three of the five more specific items: addressing school violence, holding schools accountable, and promoting character. The candidates have roughly equal support with about four in ten swing respondents not picking a candidate. The main exception is on improving schools in poor areas: here 47 percent choose Gore and 18 percent choose Bush. Gore also has a (somewhat smaller) advantage on providing funds.
    • FAILING SCHOOL PLANS
      • About half favor the voucher plan when first asked, similar to other respondents. Only a quarter continue to support the plan when challenged.
      • Again, they look like the rest of the population when it comes to the Gore plan -- about three in four support. They are somewhat more likely than other voters to change their minds when challenged, but 58 percent of the original supporters stick with the plan.
    • RELIGION
        These voters look like Bush voters more than Gore voters when it comes to religious values. 63 percent want to see that religious values have more influence in the schools, compared to 46 percent of Gore voters and 70 percent of Bush voters. They are equal to Bush voters in supporting prayer in the schools (68 percent, compared to 56 percent of Gore voters)
    • OTHER
        In terms of 'most important issues', swing voters look more like Gore's voters than like Bush's. Their top two issues are health care and education, as are Gore voters'. Committed Bush voters prioritize moral values and taxes.

© Copyright 2000 The Washington Post Company


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