Op-eds and Articles

Op-Ed: ‘Free College for All’ Is a Non-Starter for Many Voters. New Poll Shows Why Talking Point Is Dangerous for Democrats

By and / 3.19.2020

Sadly, education has been all but ignored in this year’s Democratic primaries. But a new poll commissioned by the Progressive Policy Institute points toward one reason Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have not lived up to their supporters’ hopes: Their embrace of free college and paying off all student debt strikes many voters as elitist.

Because narrow victories in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania gave Donald Trump his Electoral College win in 2016 — even while he lost the popular vote by 3 million ballots — PPI recently commissioned a poll in those states.

Much of the poll, by Expedition Strategies, dealt with health care, the economy, taxes, business and climate change. (You can find the entire poll here.) But when pollsters asked about promises of free college and the elimination of student debt, the response was anything but enthusiastic. To many voters, these are elite preoccupations that compound the advantages of the already privileged college-going cohort at their expense.

Read the full piece here.