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Even Most Born Again Christians Oppose School Vouchers, Survey Says

According to a new survey from the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation, voters in the state overwhelmingly oppose school vouchers across almost all demographics, including born again Christians.

The Texas Decides survey covers everything from border policy to abortion access, with breakdowns across party, race, gender, and location. When it comes to school vouchers, almost no group shows majority support.

That holds true even in religious communities. Forty-seven percent of Texas born again Christians oppose vouchers, while only 45 percent support them (8 percent were unsure). The divide was even starker amongst other types of Christians, with only 30 percent supporting. Sixty-eight percent of non-Christians opposed school vouchers.

The lack of support from the Christian community shows how deeply unpopular the idea is. School vouchers would allow parents to use public funds to pay for tuition at private schools. Almost all of these are wealthy Christian schools in urban or suburban districts, and would represent an enormous funnel of taxpayer dollars into religious coffers.

Certainly Governor Greg Abbott made his appeal for vouchers in overtly religious tones. Much of the rhetoric around the need for “school choice” revolves around the idea that secular schools are pushing anti-white, pro-LGBT agendas that aren’t present at religious schools. In trying to win the support of the evangelical community, Abbott toured the state’s religious schools where administrators were open about the need for a more Christ-centered approach to education.

Despite that tour, Abbott’s voucher plan died in the Texas House thanks to a revolt from rural Republicans who feared for the funding of Texas public school. Abbott has subsequently sworn revenge of members of his own party, but the Texas Decides survey has bad news there as well.

Rural opposition to vouchers remains strong, with only 34 percent supporting. That number is almost identical to urban and suburban Texans, which leaves Abbott with few voters to actually make his case to. No matter where they live, most Texans have no interest in the voucher plan.

What they do overwhelmingly want is higher teacher pay. Whether you measure it by gender, ethnicity, age, level of education, party affiliation, religion, region, or past votes for president or senator, every group supported raising teacher pay by at least 82 percent.

This may explain some of the antipathy to Abbott’s vouchers. The governor has been holding school funding hostage until he gets his way on vouchers, putting off badly needed adjustments to the student allotment and other funding avenues that have languished as the fight for vouchers wages on.

The survey is not all bad news for the governor. Texans generally approve of his handling of the southern border while disapproving of President Joe Biden’s handling of the same. Even in Hispanic communities, there is significant support, especially in conservative Born Again Christians. Support was also strong amongst political independents (63 percent).

When it comes to abortion, a majority of Texans favor the procedure being legal through twelve weeks of pregnancy. Immigrants, Born Again Christians, and Republicans were the only groups to support the current narrow level of abortion access, though the divide between most demographics was less than ten percentage points.

Jef Rouner
Jef Rouner
Jef Rouner is an award-winning freelance journalist, the author of The Rook Circle, and a member of The Black Math Experiment. He lives in Houston where he spends most of his time investigating corruption and strange happenings. Jef has written for Houston Press, Free Press Houston, and Houston Chronicle.

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