Majorities in a new poll oppose both the Trump administration’s demand that schools fully reopen in the fall and the president’s ultimatum that he will cut funding for schools that fail to do so.
The Politico-Morning Consult survey released early Wednesday found 53 percent of voters are somewhat or strongly opposed to reopening day cares or K-12 schools in the fall, and 50 percent oppose opening universities and colleges. Thirty-eight either somewhat or strongly support reopening day cares or K-12 schools, while 40 percent somewhat or strongly support opening universities and colleges.
Sixty-five percent also oppose cutting funding to those schools that do not reopen, compared to 22 percent who support the idea. Voters were nearly evenly split on whether they thought the push to reopen schools was in hopes of benefiting the economy (41 percent) or because it would benefit students’ learning (43 percent).
Pollsters surveyed 1,992 registered voters from July 10 to July 12. The poll has a 2-point margin of error.
The Trump administration has launched an aggressive push to reopen schools in the fall despite the continuing pandemic, with the president calling the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines for safely reopening “very tough & expensive.” CDC Director Robert Redfield said on Thursday that “having the schools actually closed is a greater public health threat to the children than having the schools reopen.”
While the administration has reportedly seized on the issue in hopes that it will win support with women and suburban voters, as support for Trump lags among them, the new poll found 56 percent of women opposed reopening. Fifty percent of men and 55 percent of suburbanites opposed it as well.
Despite the pressure from the federal government, Los Angeles and San Diego announced Monday the upcoming school year will start online, while Arlington County, Va., just proposed postponing the start of the year from Aug. 31 to Sept. 8 and beginning the year with virtual learning.