Poll: Majority of Voters in Key 2024 States Pessimistic About Economic Outlook for Young People

Press Releases

October 5, 2023

New Series Provides Insights, Solutions to Increase Opportunities

NEW YORK, N.Y. (Oct. 5, 2023) – A new poll released today found voters in battleground states believe young people will be worse off financially than past generations—with voters seeing investments in and changes to public education as crucial for reversing this trend.

The poll, conducted by Education Reform Now (ERN) affiliate Education Reform Now Advocacy, found that 73% of registered voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin believe young people today will be financially worse off than previous generations of Americans. More than half of Black voters (55%) said improving education was the top remedy to this—more pressing than addressing inflation, lowering taxes, or stopping the outsourcing of jobs.

Despite concerns, voters overwhelmingly support investing in more choices within the public education system (72%) rather than funding private voucher programs (28%) currently being proposed by Republicans. Among those surveyed, 78% of voters said electeds should increase public school options beyond students’ traditionally zoned public schools, allowing families to select the best school to meet their child’s needs.

“The question isn’t whether voters want public school choice, it’s whether elected leaders will listen to the clear demand for families to be empowered with multiple options within the public school system,” said ERN CEO Jorge Elorza. “Protecting the public education system means evolving the education system to meet every child’s unique needs.”

Beginning today, ERN will highlight a dozen public-school choice models currently in existence, with new briefs launching weekly. The first brief focuses on Colorado’s school choice system, allowing students to choose schools outside of the one they were zoned in. Additional briefs will discuss innovation schools, within-district choice, and career academies that prepare students for high quality internships and careers.

“We hope this series serves as a menu of policy options that leaders and advocates can draw from and advance in their states, adapted to their own specific conditions,” said ERN Vice President for K-12 Policy Charles Barone.

Read the series here to learn more about public choice models and view the full poll results here.

The poll was conducted by SurveyUSA, who interviewed 1,258 registered voters drawn proportionately from the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin between Sept. 22 and Sept. 24, using a sample of internet panel members.


Education Reform Now (ERN) is a non-partisan, nonprofit think tank and advocacy organization that promotes increased resources and innovative reforms in K-16 public education, particularly for students of color and students from low-income families. We seek forward progress in public education—at the federal, state, and local level—developing and advocating for new, bold ideas and mutually reinforcing policies in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education. Visit www.edreformnow.org to learn more.