Utahns place high importance on improving public education, but they rejected a gas tax hike to fund schools

Utah voters are nothing other than, at times, schizophrenic.

You may recall that by a 2-1 margin, on Nov. 6 voters rejected a 10-cents-per-gallon gasoline tax increase – with most of the money flowing into public schools.

Yet a new Dan Jones & Associates survey finds that – at the same time – a huge majority of Utahns say improving the quality of K-12 public education is “very important” to them.

Go figure.

Of course, it is easy to say you want better schools, and still be against a gasoline tax hike to fund them.

Still, the survey finds, that on a scale of 1-5, with 1 and 2 being “not at all” important, 4 and 5 being “very important” and 3 being neutral, a huge majority of Utahns say improving public schools is “very important” to them.

Some of the numbers:

  • 83 percent of all Utahns said on the above scale, they are either 4 or 5 believing improving schools is “very important.”
  • Only 5 percent say adequately funding schools is not important to them.
  • And 12 percent are in the middle, or said 3 on the scale.


Across the state, 66 percent of Utahns voted against Question 1 – a referendum on raising the gas tax.

Thirty-four percent voted for it.

So, one may conclude by far most Utahns are in favor of improving public schools, but don’t want to raise the gasoline tax for it.

Also in the survey:

  • Women favor improving schools in greater numbers than do men.
  • Women say improving schools is “very important,” 88-1 percent, with 11 percent neutral.
  • Men favor better schools, 78-8 percent, with 13 percent neutral.

While all partisan groups greatly favor public school funding, Republicans trail the other groups:

  • Utah Republicans want to improve the quality of public schools, 79-5 percent, with 15 percent neutral.
  • Democrats have little doubt; by 91-2 percent they say improving schools is “very important.” Seven percent of Democrats are neutral.
  • Political independents favor better schools, 86-5 percent, with 9 percent being neutral.

640 adults were polled from Sept. 26 to Oct. 4. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.85 percent.