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Poll: Majority of likely voters support bill reopening schools

RALEIGH – A Civitas Flash Poll, conducted over the weekend, found widespread support for Senate Bill 37, In-Person Learning Choice for Families.

Likely North Carolina voters were asked whether they supported or opposed S.B. 37:

Support 59.6%
Oppose 28%
Neither Support nor Oppose 7.9%
Unsure 4.5%

Support for the bill runs the political spectrum, with 80% of Republicans, 56% of Unaffiliateds, and 43% of Democrats affirming their backing of the bill. Alternatively, only 8% of Republicans, 30% of Unaffiliateds, and 43% of Democrats oppose the bill.

In an 11th hour move at 4:47 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the bill. The General Assembly has vowed to override the governor’s veto, indicating that a number of Democratic legislators will break ranks with Cooper and vote in favor of at least partial in-person learning for children.

This veto override would follow release of statewide test results that indicate a marked decline in student proficiency since school shutdowns began last year. The results showed that three-fourths of third-graders are not proficient in reading and that the majority of high school students failed Math I, Math 3, and biology exams. Third-grade students were also significantly behind in reading proficiency, with 58% of those tested scoring a Level I, which is the lowest grade possible.

Of likely voters surveyed in the Civitas Flash Poll, an overwhelming majority (77%) believe schools should be either partially or fully re-opened for in-person instruction. Only 18% believe schools should be closed, solely offering virtual instruction.

Those surveyed were also informed of Cooper’s veto of S.B. 37. Forty-nine percent oppose his veto, while 41% support it.

When asked whether the General Assembly should override Cooper’s veto, 48.8% stated that the legislature should override the veto, while only 40% indicated the legislature should not override.

Methodology: This probabilistic survey was conducted February 27 – 28, 2021, with 600 likely voters. It has a margin of error of ±4.0%. Known registered voters were interviewed via IVR and SMS invitation. This survey was weighted to likely voter universe.

Full results here.

Donna Martinez / Senior Writer and Editor

Donna came to the John Locke Foundation in January 2003 after freelance writing for Carolina Journal and contributing to projects for the North Carolina Education Alliance. He...