This morning at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, FFYF released the results of a new national poll that should put elected officials and candidates of ALL political stripes on notice. An overwhelming majority of American voters consider investments in early childhood education a national priority.

This is the second year that FFYF has commissioned a nonpartisan poll with Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research. And for the second year in a row, early childhood education is the second most important issue to voters after jobs and the economy.

Regardless of their party affiliation, a strong majority of voters say we should be doing more to ensure children start kindergarten with the knowledge and skills to do their best. 55% of Republicans, 63% of Independents and 73% of Democrats say we should do more at the federal level. 

Perhaps the biggest revelation of this new survey is that there is strong bipartisan support for increasing the federal debt in the short term to make smart investments in quality early childhood education. Voters are willing to spend today in order to reap future economic benefits that stem from early childhood education. Again, this support includes a majority of Republicans.

The conventional wisdom – that Americans don’t have the appetite for investing in early childhood education unless we hold the line on taxes and spending – is wrong. Republicans, Democrats, Independents and swing voters all favor deep, wide and varied investments in programs for children from birth to age five, prioritizing the issue far above reducing the tax burden on families.

Voters want to take action right now – over three-quarters of Americans want Congress to act this year or next.

The people have spoken. Will our leaders listen?