A new poll from a national advocacy group shows 72% of registered voters support the concept of school choice, a big leap from when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The poll, commissioned by the American Federation for Children and conducted by RealClear Opinion Research, showed support for school choice across party lines — 82% of Republicans, 68% of Democrats, and 67% of unaffiliated voters. Support held regardless of race, with 72% of whites, 70% of blacks, 77% of Hispanic, and 66% of Asian voters backing school choice.

Support for school choice is up since April when the same poll put support levels at 71%, but the largest increase comes when comparing to April 2020 — an 8% overall increase in support (62% vs 72%), including a 9% jump among Democrats (59% vs. 68%), 7% among Republicans (75% vs. 82%), and 7% among unaffiliated voters (60% vs. 67%).

“These poll numbers are stunning,” said Tommy Schultz, CEO of the American Federation for Children, in a statement. “The past two years have exposed to the world what many in the parental choice movement have known for decades: no single educational environment is right for every child. As the battle over educational freedom continues, party affiliation is secondary to ensuring all families are empowered to choose the best educational setting for their children.”

A recent Civitas Poll of likely voters presented by the John Locke Foundation found broad support for North Carolina’s own set of school-choice scholarships. Sixty-one percent of likely voters back the Opportunity Scholarship Program, 58% support charter schools, and 59% support the idea of creating an Education Savings Account designed to offset student learning losses caused by the pandemic.

Another survey found that over half of parents had considered alternative educational options — such as a private or home school — during the pandemic. Some politicians are taking note of the growing consensus across the country over school choice. In January, Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, issued a proclamation recognizing National School Choice Week. Cooper has been a stalwart opponent of school choice since securing the governor’s office in 2016, making the move all the more surprising.