Washington, D.C. – Early childhood education is an issue that unites American voters and attracts support from across the political spectrum, according to a new national poll released today by the First Five Years Fund (FFYF). In fact, 79 percent of voters—including 80 percent of Trump voters and 79 percent of Clinton voters—want Congress and the administration to work together to improve the quality of child care and preschool, as well as make it more affordable for parents. Not surprisingly, strong support across party lines comes from voters’ understanding that high-quality early childhood education programs pay off in the long-run. Fully 69 percent of voters say high-quality early childhood programs lead to a larger pool of highly skilled workers in the long term.
“At a time when so many policy issues are divided along partisan lines, Americans from both sides of the aisle have reaffirmed their public support for investing in quality early childhood education from birth through age five,” said Kris Perry, Executive Director of FFYF. “The results of our new poll show early childhood education is not a partisan issue. Instead, taking action to improve access to high quality early care and learning offerings is an opportunity for voters and lawmakers to find common ground. We must now work together to provide all students, particularly those from low-income families, in all communities with access to high-quality programs at an affordable cost.”
The poll found that every single proposal tested—including expanding federal partnerships with states and communities through grants to improve access to preschool, tripling the current child care tax credit, and providing greater funding for programs like Head Start—received overwhelming voter support regardless of partisan affiliation.
Additional findings from the poll are highlighted below:
- Early childhood education broadly continues to be a bipartisan issue: 89 percent of voters support making quality early childhood education for children from birth to age five, including child care and preschool, more affordable for working families to give children a strong start. This support transcends partisan lines, including:
- Eighty-two percent of Republicans
- Eighty-five percent of Independents
- Ninety-seven percent of Democrats
- American voters do not want to see funding cuts: Barely 10 percent of voters say federal funding for child care and preschool should be cut. Eighty-five percent of voters say there should be increased funding for child care that directly supports greater access to quality programs for low- and middle-income children while their parents work or attend school.
- As tax reform debates heat up, voters support proposals that help parents better afford quality child care: Eighty-one percent of voters, including 74 percent of Trump voters, support providing a child care tax credit to help parents better afford quality child care and early education programs, with low- and middle-income parents who need more help getting a larger credit. Additionally, 70 percent of voters say we should increase the amount of the existing child and dependent care tax credit from $3,000 to $9,000 for one child to better reflect today’s child care costs. That figure includes 60 percent of Trump voters.
- Members of Congress who may have reservations about supporting funding for more families to have access to quality child care and preschool shouldn’t worry about alienating voters: Fifty-seven percent of voters say they would have a more favorable opinion of their Member of Congress if he or she voted in favor of increased funding for quality early learning and care, while only six percent say they would have a less favorable opinion.
The poll was commissioned by the First Five Years Fund in conjunction with a bipartisan polling team of Public Opinion Strategies (R) and Hart Research (D). The sample was distributed proportionately throughout the country and is demographically representative of the electorate.
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. http://www.ffyf.org