92 Percent of All Likely Voters Give Oklahoma Lawmakers Lousy Marks for Education Funding in New Poll
85 Percent of voters believe teacher pay falls short across the state
Oklahoma City – New polling shows 92 percent of all voters rank the performance of the Oklahoma legislature’s approach to education funding as only fair or poor. In addition, 85 percent believe teacher pay is too low and a majority says raising taxes to increase teacher pay is a necessary step.
The poll was conducted by Harstad Strategic Research in mid-December. The survey results are based on 502 random telephone interviews with likely voters for the 2018 midterm elections and has a 4.4 percent margin of error. The sample included 53 percent who self-identified as Republican or lean Republican and 35 percent Democrat or lean Democrat.
Survey results show only 18 percent feel positively toward the state legislature, with the governor faring slightly better at 25 percent positive. Additionally, half the state says education is the No. 1 funding priority — ahead of jobs and the economy, health care, roads and bridges, and taxes.
“Voters understand this legislature has failed miserably in its duty to provide the necessary investments in education to make Oklahoma the state it should be,” Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest said. “What is clear to me is voters understand who is responsible for the education funding crisis and subsequent teacher shortage, and they want better for Oklahoma’s school children.”
When given the choice of increasing some taxes or making significant cuts to other areas of state government to fund education, a majority of voters want lawmakers to increase taxes. Seventy percent of voters said they would support a recently filed initiative petition to increase gross production tax from 2 percent to 7 percent on all oil and gas wells to fund an average $5,000 teacher pay raise.
“Voters want action on the issue of increasing teacher pay and education funding,” Priest said. “Lawmakers have the opportunity to do the right thing, and if they don’t, it’s clear there will be electoral consequences at the ballot box in November.
A comprehensive summary of the poll is available at okea.org/poll.
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