A divided electorate is united on early childhood education
Posted on 07.28.2016, Thursday

In the midst of an extremely polarized election, 90% of voters agree on one thing: Congress and the next president should work together to make quality early childhood education more accessible and affordable to low- and middle-income families. That includes 78% of Trump supporters and 97% of Clinton supporters. The First Five Years Fund’s annual national poll shows that early childhood education is one of the best ways for candidates to connect with voters because it is one of their top priorities – regardless of party.

Now, more than ever, voters are ready for policymakers to act on the issue and provide better early childhood education opportunities.

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  • Quality early childhood education is a top priority issue along with improving education and jobs. 80% say making sure that our children get a strong start in life through quality early childhood education is extremely or very important to them personally.
  • There is overwhelming support—with little opposition—for a federal plan that helps states and local communities provide better access to quality early childhood education. Nearly three quarters of the electorate – 54% of Republicans, 70% of Independents, and 91% of Democrats – voice support. A majority of key swing voter groups also favor investing more in early childhood education from birth to age five.
  • Voters see a critical lack of quality, affordable early childhood education. In fact, 45% say there are only few or some local programs available to lower- and middle-income families that are high-quality and affordable.
  • More than two-thirds of voters say that children do not start kindergarten with the knowledge and skills needed to do their best. 68% say half or fewer of all children are prepared for kindergarten while 29% of the electorate believes most or all children start kindergarten ready to do their best.
  • Early childhood education is a nonpartisan issue. Majorities of every partisan persuasion support investing in birth-to-age-five early childhood education.

High-quality programs and increased access to such programs requires a significant financial investment on a local, state and national level. But this investment in early childhood has an unparalleled future return, both for individuals and communities, which is why it consistently receives bipartisan public support.

This election year, let’s make sure that early childhood education gets the attention it deserves as a critical issue for candidates. How can you help? Learn more about where each candidate stands on education issues and what they have done to support young children. Ask questions and find out more about how each candidate plans to address the critical issues facing families in this country. Make your voice heard, and become an advocate for young children and families in Durham, North Carolina, and across the country!

To view all of the results from the First Five Years Fund’s 2016 poll, please click here.