Poll: Floridians sour on school voucher expansion

Empty school classroom in cartoon style. Education concept witho
Sixty percent backed the status quo.

New statewide polling contends three in every five Floridians oppose one of Gov. Ron DeSantis policy priorities.

Last month DeSantis signed HB 1, sweeping legislation that makes private school vouchers available to all, regardless of income. Yet a new survey from Mason-Dixon Polling and Strategy shows 60% of Floridians say they oppose the school choice expansion, with only 34% in support.

“A strong majority of Florida voters support keeping income eligibility for K-12 vouchers,” said Sadaf Knight, CEO of the Florida Policy Institute, which commissioned the poll.

“These results show that Floridians want policies that prioritize equity, rather than expanding subsidies to the wealthiest families. These poll results should serve as a wake-up call to lawmakers that they should be listening to the needs and priorities of their constituents and not diverting public funding to pay for the private school tuition costs of Florida’s wealthiest families.”

The status quo is the preference of majorities across party lines, with 71% of Democrats, 52% of Republicans and 59% of independents wanting to keep things as they are. Until the law changed, families earning up to $120,000 were eligible for vouchers worth roughly $8,000.

Strong majorities backed the previous version of the system in every region of the state. In North Florida, 65% of respondents wanted to keep things as they were, the highest number in any geographical region of the state. Even in Southwest Florida, where support was the lowest of any part of the state, 54% liked things the way they were before the law changed.

Strong majorities of men and women both back the law before the change, with 57% of males and 64% of females saying they wanted to keep things as they were. Likewise, people of all ethnic identities polled backed the status quo, including 59% of White voters, 60% of Hispanic voters, and 69% of Black voters.

With the expansion, Florida joins just five other states that allow universal choice: Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Utah and West Virginia.

The live-dial poll consulted 625 registered Florida voters, and was in the field from March 27 through March 30. Pollsters talked to 250 Republicans, 225 Democrats, and 150 Independents. The margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points.


Anne Geggis of Florida Politics contributed to this report.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Richard Bruce

    April 5, 2023 at 11:30 am

    Not hard to understand new poll. Those who oppose vouchers want Gov’t to education their children forcing “others” to pay for it. This is the problem with strict democracy voting for taxation without equality of consequences. It’s easy to vote for Gov’t spending when the voter doesn’t have to pay for it. Tax laws unjustly over burdens a few to benefit the many.

    • Earl Pitts American

      April 5, 2023 at 11:59 am

      Good afternoon Richard
      While your post above sounds logical you have over thought a much less complex situation. Too much deep thinking and contimplation does not always pull out nuggets of truth and quite often results in pulling out nuggets of smelly brown flushable material.
      Let me drill down to the plain and simple truth.
      Our elected officials have determined there is a dangerous woke union birthed monster harming our childern in the union backed public school systems accross Florida. They are going to address it thru legislation.
      No amount of last minute “polling” will sway Florida’s elected officials from their duty of keeping Florida’s precious childern safe from the clear and present danger the unions are demanding to be maintained and even expanded upon in Florida’s Public School system.
      Relax Richard this is not a one law fix all process. Fixing what is broken will take several legislative sessions and may indeed be a forever process beating back the demonic unions.
      Thank you Richard,
      Earl Pitts American

      • Mr. Haney

        April 5, 2023 at 9:23 pm

        Right. Keeping children safe by letting anyone have a concealed weapon.

        You have to be retarded.

      • Richard Paula

        April 8, 2023 at 12:38 pm

        Your remarks are founded in the Nineteenth Century. This 1s 2023 not 1873. Our “precious children” need to know the true history of their country, good or bad.

    • Mr. Haney

      April 5, 2023 at 9:22 pm

      I’m sure that made sense to you.

  • Mark Tilham

    April 5, 2023 at 11:43 am

    The Governor needs to pay attention to the desires of the citizens of his state; if not, he has little chance of making it to the White House.

  • gloriajame

    April 5, 2023 at 12:09 pm

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  • AJC

    April 5, 2023 at 12:31 pm

    Poor Florida. In 5 years we will rank even lower in every metric for educational performance, investment/business opportunities, air and water quality and so many more….the only statistic that will likely go up in numbers is Crime

  • Curious Prime

    April 6, 2023 at 5:07 am

    Land erosion, hurricanes, loss of insurance, understated crime in rural communities, and out of control political climate are great talking points.

  • Holly B

    April 6, 2023 at 8:17 am

    The “non-partisan” Florida Policy Institute spent months (and hundreds of thousands of dollars) lying about the cost of the bill, and every lazy reporter ran their info as facts. Then they commission a poll to get a result in their favor after months of smearing. Who do you think this fools besides the people you’re grifting to fundraise your salaries off of? People aren’t stupid, Holly

Comments are closed.


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