New National Poll: Voters Now View Child Care as an Essential Service Like Healthcare and Education

The Coronavirus pandemic has opened voters’ eyes to the importance of child care for families — and the economy. Now voters are ready for sweeping federal action. 

WASHINGTON — The results[1] of a new national poll from the First Five Years Fund (FFYF) reveal the clear impact the COVID-19 crisis has had on voters’ views of America’s child care system — and the need for a significant public investment in meaningful child care policy solutions for working families and providers. In fact, 72% of voters nationally and 76% of voters in key battleground states support such an investment to ensure that every working parent who wants to do so could affordably send their child to the high-quality child care program of their choice. Most notably, however, this new data shows that 84% of American voters say high-quality, affordable child care for families with young children is an essential service — just like healthcare and education — with 79% of saying specifically that the pandemic has made it clear to them how essential a strong child care system is for families who need it. 


The poll findings also make it clear that the nation’s child care crisis has impacted the views of voters of every ideological background, signaling to lawmakers that supporting early learning and care remains a rare unifying issue that comes with little political downside. In battleground states with tight Senate races, many of which will also be crucial in the presidential election, 83 percent of voters say that candidates for office, including president, should have plans and policies to help working parents afford high-quality child care.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the indispensable role of child care for working families and the economy,” said FFYF Executive Director Sarah Rittling. “Voters understand that, just as healthcare and education are essential to our society, so too is quality child care — and voters support a significant, federal investment to make it more accessible and affordable to working families. Now, as we enter the final days of a bitter and divisive election, there is clear evidence that voters across the political spectrum view early learning and child care as smart policy and smart politics, and they feel a sense of urgency for meaningful action from their lawmakers in Washington.”

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