With early voting already happening and only a week until election day, a Long Beach Unified School District bond measure is a toss-up, according to the poll released today by the Long Beach Center for Urban Politics and Policy.
LBUSD’s Measure Q would authorize $1.7 billion in bonds that would be paid back with an increase in property taxes. The funds would be used to upgrade school technology and infrastructure including repairs like the removal of lead paint and asbestos.
The bond measure requires 55% approval to pass and, according to the poll, 56% of likely voters support it. Thirty-two percent of respondents opposed it and 12% responded “I don’t know.” The margin of error for the poll is 2.9%, putting the bond’s passage within that margin.
Opinions about the bond broke along party lines, with 70% of Democrats saying they supported Measure Q and 61% of Republicans opposing it.
Measure Q is the third bond the district has asked Long Beach voters to approve within the last 15 years; in 2016, voters approved Measure E with 74.85% support, and in 2008, voters approved Measure K with 71% support.
That partisan divide also revealed itself in more general questions about education. According to the poll, 56% of Long Beach voters are “very concerned” about the learning loss revealed by a recent, sharp decline in test scores.
A plurality of voters agreed that learning loss occurred due to factors stemming from the pandemic, with 35% saying it was because school campuses were closed and 24% saying it was because school was taught online, but when broken down by party affiliation, there was a stark difference.
Among Democrats, 39% of voters identified student absences from school during the pandemic as the cause of learning loss, while 39% of Republicans blamed the dropping test scores on “critical race theory.”
A majority of Long Beach voters (61%) said they’d like to see funding increased to local schools, and 66% of Long Beach voters strongly approved or somewhat approved of the recent federal policy announcement to forgive up to $20,000 in college student loans.