Most Floridians say education savings accounts should be available to all parents and the vast majority say students should have access to education options tailored to their needs, a new poll found.
Education savings accounts, also known as ESAs, are investment accounts similar to an IRA that allow parents to save for tuition or other education costs with pre-tax dollars.
The poll, commissioned by Americans for Prosperity-Florida and yes. every kid., found 54% of Florida voters think ESAs should be available to all parents, which is only slightly below the 56% who said they would back ESAs if they were limited to parents who have low incomes or children with unique abilities.
Support for universal ESAs was strongest among Floridians with a child in public school (68%), followed by voters 35 to 64 years old. There was little partisan divide, with 52% of Democrats and 55% of Republicans in favor.
After telling voters some of the common critiques of ESAs, support only dipped by a few points.
“While voters did find several lines of attack persuasive, the talking points against education freedom did not result in a significant change in overall support for ESA’s. After countering with pro-ESA messaging, overall support for universal ESA’s held steady at 58%, which falls within the margin of error for initial support for ESA’s,” a polling memo reads.
AFP-FL and yes. every kid. said the results showed ESAs are “durable” even though “special interests have tried to tarnish, diminish, and belittle education freedom in Florida.”
The poll also asked voters if they believed every child deserved access to education options that would allow them “to realize their full potential” and whether they thought all children deserved access to a “publicly funded education.” More than eight out of 10 agreed with the first question while 95% said “Yes” to the second.
Opinions on how the state would go about providing more education options were more varied.
Just under two in five favored giving students more flexibility within the traditional public school system, while 31% favored a system where government funds a child’s education but places few restrictions on how that child and their family use the money.
Again, party affiliation had little bearing — 70% of registered Democrats and 73% of Republicans embraced one of those two visions.
Gainesville-based Data Targeting conducted the poll March 10-16 via live telephone interviews.
The sample includes of 805 Florida voters who voted in the 2020 general election or registered to vote in Florida after Oct. 1. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points at a 95% confidence interval.