A new poll finds that Democrats are more likely than Republicans to support the idea of school vouchers, but with one big caveat: The poll never actually used the words "school vouchers."
Survey respondents in the 2016 Education Next poll, released Tuesday, were asked, "A proposal has been made that would give low-income families with children in public schools a wider choice, by allowing them to enroll their children in private schools instead, with government helping to pay the tuition. Would you favor or oppose this proposal?"
Almost half of all Democrats said they would support the proposal, but only 37 percent of Republicans said they would.
An alternative question wording did not mention "wider choice" but did mention that it would use "government funds" to pay tuition. In that case, support was lower among both Democrats and Republicans, with 39 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of Republicans in favor.
Both Republicans and Democrats were more likely to support the concept when it was available to all students, not just low-income students.
The survey asked about other forms of school choice, such as charter schools.
Support for charter schools seemed to hold fairly steady from 2015 to 2016, with roughly two-thirds of the country in favor. Almost 75 percent of Republicans favor charters, with 58 percent of Democrats in support.
The charter question was worded as, "Many states permit the formation of charter schools, which are publicly funded but are not managed by the local school board. These schools are expected to meet promised objectives, but are exempt from many."
According to the poll, by a slim margin, tax credit scholarships are the most popular form of school choice. The survey described tax credit scholarships as "A proposal has been made to offer a tax credit for individual and corporate donations that pay for scholarships to help low-income parents send their children to private schools. Would you favor or oppose such a proposal?"
Roughly two-thirds of the country supports the concept, with 69 percent of Democrats in favor and 50 percent of Republicans in favor.
The percentages above only include respondents who offered an opinion on the issue.
Jason Russell is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.