Despite what some politicians say, Iowans—across the board—trust their public schools, according to a recent poll commissioned by Iowa Starting Line.
Among Republicans, 81% said they trust Iowa’s public schools a lot or some. That’s close to Democrats, 86% of whom said they had a lot or some trust in Iowa schools. The group with the least trust is independents/third-party members, and 75% still said they trusted Iowa schools.
Overall, 81% of respondents trust schools, compared to the 19% who don’t.
Data For Progress conducted polling for Iowa Starting Line and surveyed 637 likely voters from July 22 to 29. The margin of error is ±4 percentage points.
Distrust of public schools and teachers has been the argument in a push to make it easier to privatize schools and to create additional cumbersome requirements on schools to publish their curricula and lesson plans.
In fact, Iowans generally trust another institution some politicians have tried to sow doubts about: Iowa’s elections process.
Approximately 86% of respondents have some or a lot of trust in Iowa’s elections, with fairly even numbers among the three categories of party affiliation. Republicans actually have the most trust with 92% choosing those options. Only 82% of Democrats and Independents/third party members did, but those are still clear majorities.
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate has repeatedly said the 2020 election in Iowa was secure and without widespread fraud.
On the other hand, Republicans were more likely to support a candidate or lawmaker who tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election, with only 11% saying that would make them vote for the other candidate, and 27% it would make reconsider their vote. For 56% of Republicans, a candidate attempting to overturn the 2020 election wouldn’t impact their vote.
Overall, 61% of people said they would change their vote or at least make them reconsider a candidate who tried to overturn the 2020 election, while 33% said it wouldn’t matter to them.
Party affiliation mattered a lot on this question. A strong majority of Democrats—87%—said efforts to overturn the election would matter; 64% of Independents/third party members agreed, and 38% of Republicans did, too.
At the same time, 64% of poll respondents said they trusted the Republican-controlled state government, with Democrats and Independents having not much or no trust at all, 59% and 43% respectively. Republicans had the most, with 90% saying trusted the state government some or a lot
The biggest overall numbers were some trust— 46%—and not much—26%. Only 18% said they had a lot of trust in the state government.
Republicans are in charge of the three branches of Iowa’s government. Lately, they have pursued some unpopular policies such as voucher programs to send state funds to pay for private schools and restrictions on abortion access, including amending the Iowa Constitution to explicitly reject the idea it includes the right to abortion.
Because Republicans have majorities in both chambers of the legislature, Democrats and others are very limited in how they can negotiate or balance some of the proposed policies. It all comes down to who the Republican politicians listen to and where their lines are.
For example, the proposed voucher plan failed because some House Republicans recognized it would be bad for the public schools in their rural districts. They joined Democrats in opposing the measure and a formal vote never took place. However, a few of the House Republicans lost their primary elections this summer after Gov. Kim Reynolds endorsed and, in some cases, campaigned for their opponents.
More people, 83% of respondents, have a lot or some trust for Iowa’s local police, including 74% of Democrats, 80% of Independents, and 91% of Republicans. Only 17% of respondents said they didn’t have much or any trust.
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