Key Findings Of Our Research:
Student debt cancellation is an exciting and powerful political issue with the potential to increase voter turnout. A majority of student debt holders would support legislation to cancel student debt. Politicians have everything to gain by embracing this issue.
Data for Progress commissioned polling from YouGov Blue designed to test support for recent legislation to cancel student debt. The question asked respondents, “Would you support or oppose reversing the tax cuts recently passed by Congressional Republicans and signed by President Trump, and using any proceeds to cancel outstanding student debt?” The survey was a nationally representative survey with a sample of 1,515 that was fielded from July 13th to July 16th, 2018. In addition, Data for Progress analyzed data from the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Studies survey, a nationally representative survey fielded during the 2016 election with 64,000 respondents.
What We Found:
1. Student Debt Cancellation Enjoys Wide National Support
Our polling shows nationally, student debt cancellation has net positive support. Forty-one percent of Americans support the legislation, 35 percent oppose it and 24 percent don’t know or neither support or oppose it. That gives it net support of +6 points.
2. Student Debt Holders Overwhelmingly Support Student Debt Cancellation
Some 44 million Americans are caught in the student loan trap, and they overwhelmingly support this proposal. Among those responsible for paying off student loans, 55 percent support student debt cancellation and 43 percent “strongly” support the proposal, indicating high intensity. Only 25 percent of this group opposes the proposal, indicating +30 net support.
3. Student Debt Cancellation Has Support Across The Country
Data for Progress modelled support for student debt cancellation at the state level. The legislation has net positive support in 38 states and DC.1 Net support was greater than or equal to +5 in 29 states and DC.2 Net support was greater than +10 in 16 states and DC.3 Support was neutral (the same share in support and opposed) in three states.
4. Voters of Color Support Student Debt Cancellation By Large Margins
The legislation was extremely popular with Black (+28) and Latino voters (+15). Among white voters there was net positive support.
5. Young Voters Strongly Support Student Debt Cancellation
The policy was most popular with young Americans, and was only opposed by a slim margin of older Americans. Support is extremely strong among voters below 44 years of age (15-16 percent net support). Support is even among those 45-65, and there was only modest opposition among those older than 65 (-4).
6. Student Debt Cancellation Excites Nonvoters and Mobilization Targets
Cancellation has net positive 17 percent support among nonvoters, suggesting this could be a good policy to excite them. In addition, among voters who are “very” excited to vote, net support is +2. Among voters who are “somewhat” excited to vote, net support is +11.
1 DC, Vermont, Minnesota, Colorado, Oregon, Iowa, Massachusetts, Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, California, Maine, New York, Washington, Hawaii, South Dakota, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Virginia, Connecticut, Nebraska, Deleware, Ohio, Michigan, Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona, Montana, Georgia, Arkansas, Nevada, Missouri, Indiana, South Carolina, North Carolina.
2 DC, Vermont, Minnesota, Colorado, Oregon, Iowa, Massachusetts, Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, California, Maine, New York, Washington, Hawaii, South Dakota, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Virginia, Connecticut, Nebraska, Deleware, Ohio, Michigan, Kansas, New Mexico and Arizona.
3 DC, Vermont, Minnesota, Colorado, Oregon, Iowa, Massachusetts, Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, California, Maine, New York and Washington.
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