Polls: Americans Support Investments in Early Learning

These public opinion surveys show that the majority of American voters support public investments in high-quality early learning programs that give infants, toddlers, and preschoolers a strong foundation for success in school and life—and they want policymakers to take action. Voters recognize the state should do more to provide these vital opportunities and that early childhood investments will help children reach their full potential in school, support working families, and improve our economy.

Do you think that the state government should or should not fund voluntary preschool programs for all 4 year olds in California?

SOURCE: PPIC Statewide Survey, April 2016. Margin of error for all adults is ±3.5. The margins of error for subgroups are larger.

Californians Support State Investments in Preschool for 4 Year Olds

The overwhelming majority of Californians see preschool as critical to success in K-12 and believe the state should fund voluntary preschool for all 4 year olds, according to a new statewide public opinion survey by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC).  View the poll here. The topline results:

  • Over three-fourths of Californians say the state government should fund voluntary preschool programs for all 4 year olds.
  • 89% of Californians say attending preschool is important or very important to K-12 success.
  • 63% of Californians support using the budget surplus to fund public preschool and early childhood education programs.

New National Poll Shows Investing in Early Childhood Education is Still a Top Priority

Now more than ever, investing in early education is a nationwide top priority for voters regardless of party, according to the national First Five Years Fund poll. There is strong support for increasing federal investment in quality programs and candidates who support early learning. View the poll here. The topline results:

  • 89% of voters agree that giving children a strong start in life is a top priority.
  • 91% of voters agree that positive early education experiences lay the foundation for the years of education that follow.
  • 88% agree access to quality early childhood education as a necessity, not a luxury, for today’s families.
  • Over three-fourths of American voters support increasing federal investment to help states provide more access to high-quality early childhood programs for low- and moderate-income families.
  • A majority of several critical swing groups say they would be impressed with a candidate who supports investing in early learning.

Voters in Battleground States Support Expanding Early Childhood Education

The majority of voters in five 2016 battleground states believe that investing in early education is critical for the nation’s futures, according to a poll conducted for Save the Children by bipartisan research firms TargetPoint Consulting & Greenberg, Quinlan & Rosner. View poll here. The topline results:

  • On average, 90% of voters in Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin agree that the years zero to 5 are extremely or very important to learning, growth, and development for young children.
  • 63% of voters across party lines believe public education should begin at age 4 and be offered to all children.
  • 59% would be more likely to support a presidential candidate who supports increasing access to early childhood education.

Field Poll Shows Californians Value High-quality Preschool, Want the State to Ensure Access

A strong majority of California voters believe high-quality preschool is critical to a student’s later success, and that the state should do more to invest in early education for all low-income children, according to the December 2014 Field Poll completed in partnership with EdSource. The findings are a recognition of the critical importance of high-quality education in the lives of children. View the poll.The topline results: 

  • 83% of voters consider preschool important to a child’s later success in both school and life
  • 81% think the state should ensure all low-income 4 year olds have access to state-supported full-day preschool.

Bay Area Residents Strongly Value Early Learning and Support Increased Funding for Pre-k

Bay Area residents demonstrate clear-cut support for early learning, and they recognize the impact pre-k and early childhood education can have on our economy and future workforce, according to the Bay Area Council Poll conducted by EMC Research. View the poll. The topline results: 

  • 72% of those surveyed agree that investing in ECE is essential to sustaining economic growth and preparing the next generation to compete in a global economy
  • 69% agree that improving early childhood development can save billions in future spending
  • 69% support of increasing state and local funding for early childhood education and pre-k programs for children from 0-5.

Latino Voters Strongly Support Candidates Who Back Preschool

Every 1 out of 5 registered voters in California is a Latino voter, and Latinos will be the state’s largest ethnic group by 2020, making up almost half of the California’s new labor force by 2025. Latino children, who account for more than half of all children under age 5 in California, have an opportunity to start school ready to learn and succeed. That’s why Early Edge California (formerly Preschool California), in partnership with Univision Communications, Inc., commissioned a statewide, bipartisan poll by the Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group that surveyed Latino voters' attitudes towards early learning. View the poll and the press release.

The topline results:

  • More than 3/4 of Latino voters think candidates who want to increase funding for preschool and early learning will lead California to a better future.
  • 85% of Latino voters think children who attend preschool have an advantage over children who do not attend.
  • 75% strongly agree, despite California’s economic and budgetary challenges, the state should continue to support access to high-quality preschool.
  • 2/3 think the state is doing too little to ensure all children have access to affordable high-quality preschool.


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