NC voters on education, student loans

Some of the most heated debates of the past year have centered on education: the teaching of critical race theory, the requirement to wear face masks in schools and questions about the requirement for COVID vaccines. .

School board meetings have become the center of attention for these contentious issues, with protests across North Carolina over masks in the classroom and how schools can teach certain topics, like the identity of gender and the legacy of racism in America.

A new Spectrum News/IPSOS poll, released Monday, surveyed 1,158 registered voters in North Carolina between March 31 and April 12. It has a margin of error of 4.2%. It included questions about the economy, the coronavirus pandemic, the war in Ukraine, education and inflation.

What do you want to know

  • A new Spectrum News/IPSOS poll has found that many people in North Carolina support the teaching of critical race theory and the legacy of slavery and racism in the United States.
  • The poll, released Monday, polled more than 1,100 registered voters in North Carolina and has a 4.2% margin of error.
  • Spectrum News 1 will dive into poll questions all week, on TV and on the Spectrum News 1 app and website
  • Read the full results of Spectrum News/IPSOS poll here

North Carolina voters said the most pressing issues facing the state are inflation, rising prices and affordable housing, according to the poll.

Diving into education issues, the new poll found more nuanced views on critical race theory than some might assume from media coverage of the school board protests.

RELATED: Spectrum News poll: How do North Carolina residents feel about the economy?

“In our current era of book bans and discussion of critical race theory and parental choice, there is still this overwhelming sentiment, with more than half, 57%, saying it should really be up to educators “said Mallory Newall of IPSOS, the company that conducted the poll.

“When you force people to choose, the majority still thinks educators and administrators should have a say in what is taught in the classroom, rather than parents having the power to push back,” he said. she declared.

Despite strong protests, there is support for teaching students about the history and legacy of slavery and racism in the United States, according to the poll.

“Critical race theory is kind of a buzzword. When you ask people if they support banning teaching about the history and impact of slavery and racism, explaining a bit about what it might actually entail, around one in 10 support it , there is overwhelming opposition,” Newall said.

“When you just say, ‘Do you support banning the teaching of critical race theory?’ Even using this loaded buzzword, about one in three people support it,” she said.

When asked if they supported “banning the teaching of critical race theory in North Carolina public schools,” about 26% said they strongly supported it and an additional 7% said they were “somewhat supportive” of the ban.

But 27% said they were “strongly opposed” to a ban on teaching critical race theory, and 8% said they were “somewhat opposed”.

Asked differently, only 12% said they supported “banning the teaching of the history and impact of slavery and racism in North Carolina public schools.” Nearly 80% said they opposed banning such classes, according to the poll.

A majority of North Carolina voters opposed any new statewide mask mandates in schools, according to the Spectrum News/IPSOS poll. But more than half backed requiring teachers and school staff to be vaccinated against coronavirus.

The poll found 41% would support a new statewide class mask mandate, while 53% would oppose it. Six percent said they didn’t know.

In requiring teachers and school staff to get vaccinated, 56% said they supported a vaccination mandate while 38% opposed it, according to the poll.

When it comes to making decisions about COVID-19 restrictions, more than a quarter said it should be up to local school boards and 17% said it should be left to parents. The poll found 13% said it should be left to the governor and a further 13% said it should be the federal government’s responsibility.

The new poll found strong support among registered voters in North Carolina for the federal government to forgive student loan debt.

“But there’s a bit of nuance here,” said IPSOS’ Newall. “The support is actually higher for the federal government forgiving some, but not all, of people’s student loan debt.”

A majority of voters in the poll, 52%, said they support the federal government canceling all student loan debt. An even larger majority, 60%, supported the federal government in writing off some, but not all, student loan debt.

While there is at least some agreement from North Carolina on student loan forgiveness, divisive issues like teaching critical race theory aren’t going away.

With every North Carolina General Assembly seat up for election this year, debates over things like COVID-19 restrictions and critical race theory are likely going nowhere. They may even become more intense as campaigns heat up after the May primaries.

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