A majority of American voters would support a candidate for public office who wants to use the Common Core State Standards, according to a recent survey.
A survey of 3,600 registered voters – 1,000 nationwide, and additional samples of 500 or 600 in five additional states – on behalf of the Collaborative for Student Success found that 60 percent would support a Common Core proponent for public office. The survey also showed that after hearing a description of the standards, 64 percent of people said they were in favor of the academic benchmarks.
The Collaborative for Student Success – a group of regional and national education foundations that supports the Common Core standards – jointly tasked The Tarrance Group, a Republican firm, and David Binder Research, a Democratic firm, with conducting the research. Respondents were polled from Jan. 27 to Feb. 9.
"When Americans hear accurate, straightforward information about the Common Core standards, they overwhelmingly support them because they recognize higher standards are an important part of helping kids succeed in college and in their careers," Karen Nussle, executive director of the Collaborative for Student Success, said in a statement.
The survey also asked participants about the state of public education in their areas, as well as how public education has changed during the last decade. Overall, 42 percent of the respondents gave public education in the U.S. a grade of C, and 43 percent said public education has gotten worse in their state during the last 10 years. Those percentages remained stable in the five states that were oversampled: Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.
Of those five states, only Florida's Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, has been a vocal opponent of Common Core.
Despite the strong support for the standards after respondents were given more information about them, nearly half (48 percent) initially said they had not "seen, read or heard anything about Common Core Standards in public education recently." Initial support for the standards also was more evenly split: 38 percent of respondents said they supported them, 36 percent said they were unsure and 27 percent said they opposed the standards.
The levels of support also were initially relatively stable across regions, age groups and political parties, although Democrats showed stronger support than independents and Republicans. Thirty-two percent of Republicans said they supported the standards, for example, compared with 39 percent of conservative Democrats and 41 percent of moderate and liberal Democrats.
Respondents then were given a more specific definition of the Common Core standards and again asked if they supported or opposed them, which resulted in a spike in support to 64 percent.
"The more information that the public has about the Common Core State State Standards, the better off those standards are viewed," Brian Tringali, a partner at The Tarrance Group, said in a statement.
The national sample had a 3.1 percent margin of error, while Florida had a 4.1 percent margin of error and the four other oversampled states had a 4.5 percent margin of error, according to the survey.