By a decisive margin, voters want their local schools open for in-person learning, according to a new Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen.
A majority of 53% of registered voters surveyed believe classrooms in their area should be open, while just 31% prefer they remain closed.
The finding comes as Chicago's mayor and public school authorities are locked in a tense standoff with teachers over when and how to reopen public schools. K-8 teachers defied an order by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to return to classrooms Monday.
While GOP voters overwhelmingly favor opening schools by 72%-19%, opinion is evenly split even among Democrats, who narrowly favor keeping classrooms closed by 42%-39%. The finding is significant, given the party's long alliance with teachers' unions.
In one counterintuitive demographic finding, age cohorts are more likely to favor opening schools the older they are. In other words, support for opening was directly proportional to the risk of death or serious illness from COVID-19. Those aged 18-24 (those at least risk from COVID-19), for example, favor keeping schools closed by 44%-43%, while those in the 65+ bracket (who are at greatest risk from COVID-19) favor opening schools by almost 3-1 (60%-21%).
Both men and women support opening, although men favor that option by a larger margin than women.
A large majority of white voters back opening (59%-26%), while near-majorities of African-Americans and Hispanics prefer keeping schools closed, the former by 49%-30% and the latter by 46%-41%.
The survey of 1,200 Registered Voters was conducted by Scott Rasmussen using a mixed mode approach from Jan. 28-30, 2021.