New Jersey Poll Shows Strong Support for Parental Control in School Curriculum
In the lead-up to the November 7th midterm elections, a Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll has found that parental involvement in school curriculums has become a significant election issue, favoring the Republican Party. More than 75% of New Jersey residents expressed their desire to influence what their children are taught in public schools. This sentiment has important implications for the election, as those who believe parents should have control over curriculums are more likely to support Republican legislative candidates, while those who think parents should not be involved lean toward supporting Democrats.
These findings suggest that parental control over school curriculums is a topic that resonates with voters and influences their choices at the ballot box. Dan Cassino, the director of the FDU poll, remarked, “Republican candidates are using these attacks because they work. If voters are thinking about parental control of schools when they go to the ballot box, Democrats are in real trouble.”
The breakdown of responses shows that 24% of New Jersey residents believe parents should be the sole decision-makers in determining what is taught in schools, while 52% think parents should have some influence. Only 22% believe parents should not be involved in curriculum decisions. Notably, nearly 90% of independents believe parents should have some involvement in curriculum decisions, whereas 92% of Republicans and 59% of Democrats share this view.
Further delving into the nuances of these responses, almost seven in ten independents (69%) believe parents should have some influence over curriculums, though not full control. In contrast, 45% of Republicans feel parents should have complete control, while 47% believe they should have some influence.
The poll results indicate that when New Jerseyans are primed to consider parental control issues, it affects their preferences for candidates. Primed independents flip from supporting Democrat candidates to favoring Republicans, turning a 20-point Democrat advantage into a 16-point lead for Republicans. A generic statewide ballot initially shows Democrats with a 37%-29% advantage over Republicans in legislative races. However, when it comes to independents, the generic ballot is a dead heat: 16% for Republicans and 18% for Democrats, with 53% still undecided.
Among all residents not asked about parental involvement first, Democrats have a 42%-26% advantage. But when primed on the parental involvement issue, Democrats lead by just one percentage point, 33%-32%.
The role of parental involvement in school curriculums is moving independent voters toward the Republican column, according to Cassino. However, the ultimate question remains whether these independent voters can be mobilized in an election that typically sees low turnout.
In conclusion, the FDU poll highlights that parental control of school curriculums has become a significant election issue in New Jersey, influencing the preferences of voters, particularly independents. This trend is currently favoring the GOP as candidates leverage the issue to connect with constituents.