THE BLOG
11/13/2014 12:04 pm ET Updated Jan 13, 2015

California Voters Have Clear Education Priorities

On November 4th California voters re-elected Tom Torlakson over challenger Marshall Tuck by a 52 to 48 margin. Our survey of 2014 voters on November 4 and 5 shows a clear agenda that voters support.

Seventy-six (76) percent of voters say that making school funding more equitable was important in deciding who to vote for, including 50 percent who say it was very important. The 50 percent who say this was very important supported Torlakson by a stronger margin -- 57 percent to 43 percent for Tuck.

Majorities of California voters across party lines favor making school funding more equitable moving forward including 90 percent of registered Democrats, 69 percent of registered Republicans, and 78 percent of DTS voters (voters who decline to state a party preference when registering).

Seventy (70) percent of voters say that "Stopping Wall Street and corporations from taking over schools for profits" was important in deciding who to vote for, including 56 percent who said it was very important. Torlakson won among the 56 percent of voters who said this was very important with 60 percent support compared to 40 percent for Tuck.

California voters hold conflicting views on tenure and due process. Two-thirds of voters (67 percent) say that "removing teacher tenure protections" was important in deciding who to vote for, and a similar 66 percent say that "preserving due process protections for teachers" was important.

Removing teacher tenure protections is a higher priority for Tuck supporters (79 percent), while preserving due process protections is a higher priority for Torlakson supporters (69 percent).

However, even Tuck voters favor preserving due process protections for teachers. We asked voters to indicate if they favor or oppose these same issues moving forward regardless of who they voted for. Sixty-eight (68) percent of Tuck voters think that preserving due process protections for teachers is important moving forward, and 60 percent favor preserving due process protections.

Tuck supporters tried to make this campaign a referendum on tenure, but California voters sent a clear message that their priority moving forward is making school funding more equitable and keeping corporations from taking over schools for profits. These are core values across demographics.

These findings are based on poll conducted by Lake Research Partners of 600 registered voters in California screened as having voted in the 2014 elections. The survey was conducted by telephone using professionally trained interviewers on November 4th and 5th 2014. 30% of respondents were reached by cell phone. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 4.0%.