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NEW POLL: Overwhelming Bipartisan Support for Child Care and Early Learning Proposals — With No Political Risk for Lawmakers

News September 21, 2021

WASHINGTON — Today, the First Five Years Fund (FFYF) released the findings of a new poll of registered voters in five key Senate states and 40 Congressional districts, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies’s Neil Newhouse, which shows broad, bipartisan support for early learning and child care proposals. Ahead of the upcoming 2022 midterm elections, the vast majority of voters in key Republican-held Senate states and Congressional districts understand the severity of child care challenges facing working families and want Congress to help address them with policies and investments to address access, affordability, and quality in early learning.

“This new data shows that voters recognize just how bad America’s child care crisis is and they agree on the need for solutions. In fact, voters across the political spectrum, including those who will likely be most consequential to the upcoming midterm elections, say they support Congress taking action on policy proposals that would save families thousands of dollars in child care expenses and build a strong, stable early learning system,” said First Five Years Fund Executive Director Sarah Rittling. “As elected officials and candidates alike respond to the growing recognition among voters about the essential role of child care to our economy and seek to address the challenges families and providers face, it’s increasingly clear that this issue is popular politically and voters are looking for concrete solutions.”


Key Poll Findings:

Voters understand the severity of child care challenges facing working families and want Congress to help address them:

  • One in three voters say they know someone who has had to cut work hours or forgo work entirely due to child care challenges. 42% of African-American voters and 49% of Latino voters say the same.
  • By a two-to-one margin, voters believe that public programs should help working parents afford the high cost of child care, rejecting the idea that parents alone should have full responsibility.
  • 70% of voters believe it is extremely or very important for working parents to be able to find and afford quality child care. 80% of young voters, 78% of women, and 77% of independent voters say the same.

Voters across party lines support early learning and child care policy proposals which would provide funding to states to expand their child care systems, making child care care more affordable for all families who need it and saving most parents thousands of dollars each year in child care and preschool expenses, while building an early learning system that meets the needs of working families and the providers they rely on:

  • Three in four voters support the proposal.
  • 57% of Republicans, 70% of Independents, and 90% of Democrats support the proposals.
  • More than 80% of voters say their community would benefit from the proposals.
  • Over 70% of voters say if the proposals become law, their governors should accept the funding to expand their state’s existing child care system.

Earlier this year, FFYF released the the details of a national poll that found 86% support for making child care more affordable by providing financial support to help working families pay some or all of the cost of quality care and 84% support for making preschool more available by providing it to all three- and four-year-olds whose parents want to send them. Additionally, by a margin of about five to one, voters said they would be more likely to vote for their member of Congress if they supported early learning and care policies, with very little risk of losing voters.

Overwhelming evidence and research show that high-quality early learning and care results in extensive short- and long-term benefits for children – particularly those living in poverty – including increased academic achievement, improved social & emotional development, and lifelong health & economic returns. Meanwhile, high-quality early learning and child care opportunities provide working families with better job stability and overall economic security, supporting the workforce of today and tomorrow. Improving access to high-quality education and care is also a smart investment for our nation; research shows that for every dollar invested in high-quality early childhood education, society gains up to $7.30 in economic returns over the long-term.

For more information and data from FFYF’s previous polling, visit  

The First Five Years Fund is the leading bipartisan federal advocacy organization working to ensure all children from birth through age five have equal access to affordable, comprehensive, high-quality care and education to support their healthy development and help them achieve their full potential in school and life. FFYF seeks to expand federal support for all early learning and care opportunities that are high-quality and focused first on serving those children most-at-risk.

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