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West Virginia: Voter Support for Child Care Rivals Drug Pricing, Climate & Energy in Reconciliation

Resource March 29, 2022

West Virginians widely support legislation that will lower costs for families, including making child care more affordable. Lowering costs for families is a prime goal for voters right now: nearly nine in 10 (87%) say that “the cost of living for families, including the cost of rent, groceries, and child care” is a big problem. As such, the overwhelming majority of voters favor legislation that takes specific steps to address the problem.

Support for such legislation is significant across the electorate, including a majority of older voters. And, notably, it is especially high among swing voters (those who identify neither as strong partisans nor at the ideological poles):

 Favor %Oppose %Net +/-
Swing voters6325+37
18 to 396625+41
40 to 596130+31
60 and older5338+14
Non-college graduates5735+22
College graduates6126+35

By more than two to one, voters say this legislation should include child care, despite the cost. Two in three voters say this is the case:

This sentiment crosses partisanship—88% of Democrats, 72% of swing voters, and 55% of Republicans say child care ought to be included. It is also notable that both parents (69%) and those without children (64%) say child care should be included.

Indeed, child care rivals or exceeds the other two elements of the legislation in importance, in voters’ estimation: 75% say it is important for the legislation to lower the cost of child care, compared with 87% who say it is important to reduce the cost of prescription drugs and 46% who say it is important to address climate change.

Both the need for and the benefits of child care are apparent to voters.

The need:
  • Fifty-five percent (55%) say the only way to meet demand for child care and ensure its affordability is for the government to take action; 36% believe cost and availability will improve on their own.
  • Nearly half (46%) of all voters say they, a coworker, or a friend or family member has had trouble finding child care in the past several years. That includes 30% of parents who say this applies to themselves.
The benefits:
  • Seventy-three percent (73%) of voters say that child care and early learning programs are a good investment of taxpayers’ money (including 44% who say it is a very good investment). Even 64% of those who say federal spending is too high believe child care to be a good investment.
  • Seventy-two percent (72%) of voters overall—including 72% of residents of West Virginia’s small towns and rural areas—agree that their community would benefit from child care being more available and affordable.
  • Sixty-seven percent (67%) agree that more available and affordable child care will help the economy recover from the pandemic by helping people get back to work.

West Virginians would be unhappy with their member of Congress if child care is not included in this legislation. Six in 10 (59%) voters say they would be disappointed (40%) or upset (18%) with their member of Congress if their member votes to approve legislation that excludes child care. Three in four (73%) Democrats feel this way, as do 53% of Republicans (just 30% of Republicans would be pleased or happy). Notably, 59% of swing voters say they, too, would be disappointed or upset.

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