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Politics

Common Core Standards Divide Florida Voters

April 9, 2014 - 6:00pm

Common Core continues to divide voters across the state, with a new poll showing Floridians are split over their support for the national education standards.

The Voter Survey Service poll, commissioned by Sunshine State News, found voters equally supported and opposed the standards with 43 percent. Ten percent were undecided.

When the reasons for supporting or opposing the standards were discussed in greater detail, over half -- 51 percent -- of respondents are opposed to the Common Core State Standards while a smaller number, 43 percent, said they support the standards.

Common Core has been making waves over the last year, surrounded by criticism and controversy from a variety of groups, many of whom are against the standards due to concerns of federal overreach, psychological manipulation and data privacy.

James Lee, president of Voter Survey Service, said while theres no real party divide on Common Core, Republicans seem to be more against the standards than Democrats by a 2:1 margin.

You can see how split the state is on the issue, he told Sunshine State News. The Republican opposition to this bill seems very uniform.

Lee did note, however, that there was a sharp split between staunch conservatives and mainstream Republicans on the issue of Common Core.

The kind of Republicans that are against this tend to be your more conservative, anti-government Republicans, said Lee. These are your super voting primary Republicans. Your more mainstream candidates, like Jeb Bush, are more likely [to be in favor of the standards].

Common Core, says Lee, could put a wedge between Republicans.

This is another issue that has the potential to divide the Republican base right down the middle, he told SSN.

In response to the growing criticisms, Floridas attempted to distance itself from the standards. Just this year, the Department of Education released nearly 100 changes to the standards and rebranded them under a new name -- the Florida Standards.

The poll shows, however, that many are still not on board even in spite of the standards impending arrival in Floridas schools in just a few short months.

Whatever path the legislation may take, it doesnt appear the issue of Common Core will be going away anytime soon.

I dont see how this is a winning issue for really anybody, said Lee.

In the Florida Legislature, lawmakers have been gearing up against the standards. Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, has filed legislation in the Florida House to repeal the standards, but neither Mayfields bill nor its Senate version, sponsored by Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, has been heard in their first committees.


Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen atAllison@sunshinestatenews.comor follow her on Twitter at @AllisonNielsen.

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