For two years in a row, national polling from the First Five Years Fund has shown that increasing investments in early childhood education is a top priority for voters across the political spectrum. Now, with the release of new state polling yesterday, we see that support solidified and expanded among voters in the key swing states of Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Colorado and Florida.
It’s striking how five polls in five politically distinct states show similar, high levels of support and a desire to invest in a full range of early childhood education programs from birth to age five.
We see a big shift: voters want federal and state leaders to invest in early childhood now – not years down the road. A majority in each state polled say that sufficient funding for needs like education is a higher priority than holding the line on taxes and reining in spending. More than three-in-five in each state support a federal plan to help states expand access to quality early childhood programs from birth to age five—even if it increased the deficit in the short-term but paid for itself later on through better education, health and economic outcomes.
Our national and state polls show that investing in the good practice of quality early childhood education is good politics.
Early childhood education is clearly a bipartisan issue across the nation and throughout the states polled, many of which have strong partisan divisions. Voters are more likely to support candidates who support early learning. Relatively few will vote against a candidate who dedicates more funding to quality early childhood education.
Yesterday, Fawn Johnson of the National Journal asked the question – If Everyone Wants Preschool, Why Isn’t it Growing? The answer is simple: it is growing. In 2014 alone, federal grants have increased, while state and local governments are doing what they can to make increases. We’re seeing momentum — and it’s about to grow faster. Progress happens when the things that make sense make sense politically.
Policymakers should use this opportunity and take action on a major federal investment.