Poll: Virginians overwhelmingly support private school scholarship tax credit

(Tyler Arnold | The Center Square) – Virginians overwhelmingly support a Virginia school choice policy, which currently grants tax credits to people who donate to nonprofits that give private school scholarships to low-income children, according to a poll.

The program, called the Education Improvement Scholarship Tax Credit, gives donors a 65% tax credit for their contributions. According to a Mason-Dixon poll, about 68% of registered voters support the program, only 19% oppose the program and about 13% are undecided.

“After a year of closed school buildings and parents often forced to fend for themselves and their children, there is a hunger in the Commonwealth for additional quality options offering hope and opportunity for children,” Chris Braunlich, president of the free-market Thomas Jefferson Institute, said in a statement.

More than two-thirds of voters approved of the policy in five of the six regions polled, with the other polling at 64% approval. More than two-thirds of men and more than two-thirds of women support the program.

About two-thirds of white voters support the program and nearly three-fourths of black voters support it. The program has support from 71% of Republicans, 69% of independents, and 64% of Democrats.

“It is not a coincidence that the greatest backing for the EISTC scholarship program is from black parents and those living in urban areas,” Braunlich said. “These are the parents and children who have suffered the most in the last two years. Parents are experiencing the limitations of a ‘one size fits all’ system of education and it is overdue time that we increased parental options – whether through an expansion of the EISTC, enactment of Education Savings Accounts, or effective college partnership lab schools and charter schools.”

The poll surveyed 625 registered voters. It has a 4% margin of error.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin and legislative Republicans are working on expanding school choice options with policies that are intended to expand charter schools and create lab schools. The proposals have faced some opposition from Democrats who argued that the policies would divert funds away from public schools. Supporters have argued that it would expand parental choice for students.

Republicans have a narrow majority in the House of Delegates and Democrats have a narrow majority in the Senate.