Student Loan Policies Push Voters to The Polls
We polled over 4,000 people to see how student debt impacts voting
From October 24, 2016 to November 5, 2016, we sampled 4,191 respondents of all ages to determine how significant a factor student debt plays for such respondents when casting their votes. 29.85% of respondents had between $1 and $35,000 in outstanding student debt; while 67.34% had more than $35,000 in student debt (the national average according to The Institute for College Access and Success). The respondents to the survey came from all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, as well Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, Northern Marianas Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
A full 86.69% of all respondents reported feeling either unsatisfied or very unsatisfied with the amount of time spent by the candidates discussing the issue of student loan debt.
An overwhelming 89.34% of respondents also reported they were either likely or very likely to support a candidate based upon that candidate’s student debt and higher education plan.
➤ 94.80% likely or very likely to favor a candidate who supports expansion of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
➤ 94.35% likely or very likely to favor a candidate who supports increased consumer protections for student loan borrowers.
➤ 89.49% likely or very likely to favor a candidate who supports federal student loan refinancing.
➤ 89.34% likely or very likely to vote for a candidate because of their student debt / higher ed plan.
➤ 87.65% likely or very likely to favor a candidate who supports a plan for Debt-Free college.
➤ 86.69% unsatisfied or very unsatisfied with the amount of time candidates spent discussing student debt during the 2016 election cycle.
➤ 85.79% likely or very likely to favor a candidate who supports restoration of bankruptcy protections on private student loans.
94.25% of respondents favor a candidate who supports increased consumer protections for student loan borrowers.
As to specific solutions on this issue, the various plans garner overwhelming support. The most popular solutions were the expansion of the current Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and increased consumer protections for student loan borrowers – ensuring that student loan servicers are properly held accountable for their business practices and extend protections to student debt that are enjoyed by all other types of consumer debt.
87.65% were likely to vote for a candidate who supports a plan for Debt-Free college.
Student Debt Crisis members are already carrying significant levels of student debt and, as such, are focused more on solutions to that existing debt, as opposed to solutions to the high cost of college today. Respondents to our survey, by a relatively small margin, favored student loan reforms over Debt-free college, perhaps a reflection of the fact that most respondents are already carrying significant amounts of student debt and, therefore, would not benefit from a plan that targets new students only.
85.79% were likely to vote for a candidate who supports restoring bankruptcy protections for private student loans.