October 20, 2014


Rachel Zaentz

WASHINGTON – Four new polls conducted by the bipartisan team of Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research for the First Five Years Fund and a similar poll by the Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students, find that voters in North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Colorado and Georgia view early childhood education as a critical priority for the state and nation. Voters across the political spectrum in all states want for Congress to invest now in order to capitalize on the proven economic return on investment from early childhood education.

North Carolina voters ranked ensuring children get a strong start as a top priority for policymakers, second only to jobs and the economy. Georgia voters had similar views – 87 percent agree that it is important to make early education and child care more affordable for working families. Seventy-seven percent of Colorado voters and 76 percent of Ohio voters believe that investments in early childhood programs will help strengthen their state’s economies in the short and long term. In Florida, 81 percent of voters polled support programs that strengthen families, like voluntary parent education programs.

In all states polled, majorities of voters indicate that sufficient funding for early learning is a higher priority than reducing tax burdens. More than three-in-five voters in each state embrace a national proposal that would increase federal investment to help states provide more access to high-quality early childhood education programs for low- and moderate-income families. Furthermore, a majority of voters in each state want Congress to act on such a proposal now.

“Voters across the country and across parties have spoken and the message is clear – investments in early childhood education are what’s right for our country,” said FFYF Executive Director Kris Perry. “There is strong demand from voters of diverse political and demographic backgrounds to make sure children arrive at school with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. They want their states to invest and they want the federal government to help. Congress must act now to increase federal investment and partner with states to provide local access to quality early childhood programs for our youngest learners.”

The poll comes on the heels of unprecedented state action on early childhood education across the nation – in red and blue states alike. As momentum for kindergarten readiness picks up in states, voters across the board are becoming very concerned that children are not getting a strong start in school and see high-quality early childhood education as the answer. A solid majority of voters also say their state should be doing more to prepare children for kindergarten. The results show overwhelming support for training and resources for preschool and early elementary teachers as well, evidencing the value voters place on meeting the individual needs of students early in life.

State and federal lawmakers, as well as political candidates on the 2014 campaign trail should seize on the opportunity. Voters see a political candidate’s supportive stance for early education investments as a benefit in every state. In fact, voters indicate that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports investments in early childhood education.

In an election season that seems to be about nothing, voters clearly believe it should be about investing in early learning programs that create stronger families and children who are prepared to succeed in school and life.

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About the First Five Years Fund

The First Five Years Fund helps America achieve better results in education, health and economic productivity through investments in quality early childhood education programs for disadvantaged children. FFYF provides knowledge, data, and advocacy – persuading federal policymakers to make investments in the first five years of a child’s life that create greater returns for all.