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Washington Public Opinion Research on Sex Education

Recent public opinion research in Washington state revealed that voters solidly favor sex education.

Attitudes toward Sex Education

  • Washington voters solidly support requiring comprehensive sex education and expanding existing curriculum in schools. About three-in-five strongly favor various sex education proposals:
    • Require education that covers healthy relationships and communication skills: 63% strongly favor, 76% favor
    • Require sex education that covers delaying sex and information about birth control and STIs: 63% strongly favor, 74% favor
    • Expand existing age-appropriate sex education curriculum in schools: 58% strongly favor, 68% favor.
  • The base of support comes from voters in King County, Democrats, and pro-choice voters, who solidly favor all of these sex education proposals.
    • The subgroups who are most likely to strongly favor requiring education that covers healthy relationships and communication skills include King County voters, voters who are younger than 50, Democrats, and pro-choice voters.
    • The subgroups who are most likely to strongly favor requiring sex education that covers delaying sex and information about birth control and STIs includes college-educated women, Democrats, and pro-choice voters.
    • The subgroups who are most likely to strongly favor expanding existing age-appropriate sex education curriculum in schools includes Democrats, pro-choice voters, King County voters, and women who are younger than 50.
  • Voters’ views toward abortion do not impact their attitudes toward sex education. Even voters who believe abortion should be entirely illegal or who would limit abortion to extreme circumstances are in favor of sex education.
    • Solid majorities of pro-choice (85% favor, 73% strongly favor) and anti-choice voters (63% favor, 51% strongly favor) favor requiring education that covers healthy relationships and communication skills.
    • Similar numbers of pro-choice (81% favor, 68% strongly favor) and anti-choice voters (67% favor, 57% strongly favor) favor requiring sex education that covers delaying sex and information about birth control and STIs.
    • Anti-choice voters are less enthusiastic about expanding existing age-appropriate sex education curriculum in schools, but nearly half still favor it (47% favor, 39% strongly favor).  Pro-choice voters favor this expansion at such high levels that it is a core value (86% favor, 74% strongly favor).
  • This is also not an issue that causes voters to respond to partisan cues. Democrats, Independents, and Republicans all solidly favor the sex education proposals.
    • Democrats are wildly favorable toward every proposal. About nine-out-of-ten favor requiring education that covers healthy relationships and communication skills (88% favor, 74% strongly), requiring sex education that covers delaying sex and information about birth control and STIs (87% favor, 72% strongly), and expanding existing age-appropriate sex education curriculum in schools (90% favor, 78% strongly).
    • Independents respond the best to sex education that covers healthy relationships (84% favor, 73% strongly). About two-thirds favor requiring sex education that covers delaying sex and information about birth control and STIs (64% favor, 53% strongly) and expanding existing age-appropriate sex education curriculum in schools (65% favor, 58% strongly).
    • Republicans respond best to sex ed that covers delaying sex and information about birth control and STIs (72% favor, 65% strongly favor). About half (50% favor, 40% strongly) favor requiring education that covers healthy relationships and communication skills and expanding existing age-appropriate sex education curriculum in schools (48% favor, 34% strongly).

 

Methodology

Lake Research Partners and Chesapeake Beach Consulting designed and administered this survey that was conducted by telephone using professional interviewers from April 7th – April 20th, 2018.  The survey reached a total of 500 Likely 2018 Voters statewide in Washington.

The sample was drawn from the state voter file and respondents were screened to be likely November 2018 voters. The Washington likely voter sample were weighed slightly by gender, region, age, and education to reflect the demographics composition of likely voters in each state.

The margin of error for the likely voter sample within each state is +/- 4.4 percent. It is larger for subgroups.