Mackinac Center for Public Policy Poll Conducted by EPIC/MRA

Vouchers and Education Tax Credits in Michigan

This poll of 600 active Michigan voters was conducted June 19-25, just before the U. S. Supreme Court rendered its verdict in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris upholding the constitutionality of a school voucher program operating in Cleveland, Ohio since September 1996.  The poll has an error margin of +/- 4 points.

Poll questions and results follow:

1.  In the City of Cleveland, Ohio, about 4,000 students of the 57,000 elementary-age children living in the Cleveland School District are enrolled in private schools. Parents of these children receive vouchers worth $2,250 to help pay the cost of tuition at private schools. The vouchers are funded with tax dollars. If a similar voucher program were put in place in Michigan to be used in school districts like Cleveland that are either poor or have experienced trouble providing a quality education, would you favor or oppose such a program?  [IF FAVOR/ OPPOSE] Would that be strongly or somewhat?

28%     Strongly favor

16%     Somewhat favor                       TOTAL FAVOR     44%

13%     Somewhat oppose                   TOTAL OPPOSE    49%

36%     Strongly oppose

  7%     Undecided/Don't know

2. The United States Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether or not the City of Cleveland's voucher program is constitutional. If it is ruled constitutional, would that make you more likely to support a similar voucher program in Michigan, less likely to support a similar program, or, would you say that a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that the Cleveland program is constitutional wouldn't influence your views about vouchers one way or the other? [IF MORE/ LESS LIKELY] Would that be much or somewhat?

13% Much more likely to support vouchers

9% Somewhat more likely to support vouchers

60% Wouldn't influence

4% Somewhat less likely to support vouchers

8% Much less likely to support vouchers

6% Undecided/Don't know

                                                    TOTAL MORE LIKELY 22%

                                                    TOTAL LESS LIKELY 12%

3. Specifically, as a way of expanding school choice in Michigan for parents of school age children, would you favor or oppose a voucher program funded with tax dollars to help parents pay part of the tuition cost of attending non-public schools? ? [IF FAVOR/OPPOSE] Would that be strongly or somewhat?

25% Strongly favor

18% Somewhat favor                 TOTAL FAVOR 43%

14% Somewhat oppose              TOTAL OPPOSE 50%

36% Strongly oppose

7% Undecided/Don't know

Under state and federal tax laws, there are two main ways that taxpayers can reduce the amount of tax that they owe - tax deductions and tax credits. Tax deductions are reductions that taxpayers may take from the amount of taxable income they must claim. An example of this would be contributions to charity that could be used to reduce the amount of income subject to tax. Tax credits, on the other hand, don't reduce the income subject to tax but rather, are reductions from the actual taxes that a taxpayer owes. An example of this would be a tax credit for child care. Tax credits reduce tax liability by a larger amount than tax deductions do.

Knowing this, as a way of expanding school choice for parents of school age children.

4. Would you favor or oppose a law that would allow parents of students attending non-public schools to claim a tax credit worth a limited amount, say $2,000 of the tuition they pay at non-public schools? [IF FAVOR/OPPOSE] Would that be strongly or somewhat?

21% Strongly favor

27% Somewhat favor                 TOTAL FAVOR 48%

12% Somewhat oppose              TOTAL OPPOSE 41%

29% Strongly oppose

11% Undecided/Don't know

5. Would you favor or oppose a law that would allow a tax credit for contributions made by individuals or companies to provide scholarship funds for children who attend non-public schools? [IF FAVOR/OPPOSE] Would that be strongly or somewhat?

24% Strongly favor

32% Somewhat favor                 TOTAL FAVOR 56%

12% Somewhat oppose              TOTAL OPPOSE 34%

22% Strongly oppose

10% Undecided/Don't know

6. Would you favor or oppose a law that would allow a tax credit for contributions made by individuals or companies to provide scholarship funds for children who attend either public or non-public schools? [IF FAVOR/OPPOSE] Would that be strongly or somewhat?

33% Strongly favor

34% Somewhat favor                 TOTAL FAVOR 67%

7% Somewhat oppose                TOTAL OPPOSE 22%

15% Strongly oppose

11% Undecided/Don't know