According to the latest UNH Granite State Poll (GSP), nearly half (45%) of New Hampshire residents do not support school vouchers like those proposed by Senate Bill (SB) 130, compared with 35% who support the proposal. Fifteen percent did not know enough to say. Sixty percent of Republicans support vouchers, compared with 8% of Democrats and 42% of Independents. Only about 28% of “moderate” Granite Staters support vouchers, compared with 51% who oppose them.
“This poll shows that New Hampshire’s opposition to school vouchers, like those established by SB 130, remains strong. We heard it in public hearings, and we’re hearing it here: New Hampshire residents don’t want to siphon public funds from our local communities in order to pay for private schools,” said Christina Pretorius, Policy Director at Reaching Higher NH. “Granite Staters have urged lawmakers to focus on supporting our public schools, particularly in addressing the impending $89 million shortfall in state funding, instead of pursuing policies like SB 130 that will hurt our students, schools, and communities.”
The voucher proposal put forth by Republicans would give families roughly $5,130 per child in taxpayer-funded “Education Freedom Accounts,” or vouchers, to use for private school tuition, homeschooling expenses, or other education-related costs.
An analysis by Reaching Higher NH showed that the latest version of the bill would cost the state about $70 million in new state funding over the first three years, and would cost districts about $13.6 million over its first three years, a projection that includes the proposed phase-out grants.
Republican leadership has made school vouchers its top legislative priority in 2021; however, the proposals have been met with fierce public opposition. Over 5,200 people opposed House Bill (HB) 20 during its public hearing, compared with about 1,100 supporters, and when the House Education Committee retained the bill so it wouldn’t move forward, the Senate immediately introduced their identical version, SB 130. That bill was also met with strong opposition: About 3,300 people opposed the bill at the public hearing, compared with about 500 supporters.
The UNH Granite State Poll (GSP) is a statewide, scientific survey of public opinion. For more information, please visit: https://scholars.unh.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1642&context=survey_center_polls
Citation: UNH Survey Center, “Granite Staters Support Stand Your Ground Expansion, Right-To-Work; Oppose Vouchers and Life-Sentence Reform.” (2021). All UNH Survey Center Polls. 643. https://scholars.unh.edu/survey_center_polls/643