Washington, D.C. – Results from a new bipartisan poll released today by the First Five Years Fund (FFYF) find that voters of all parties share a top national priority: investing in early childhood education.

“Support for early childhood education is strong – and growing stronger. This year’s poll results confirm that voters across the country see access to quality early childhood education as a necessity for today’s families, and critical to the future success of their children,” said Kris Perry, Executive Director of the First Five Years Fund. “For the first time in our three years of polling, American voters’ top priority is making sure children get a strong start in life, a concern equal to improving the overall quality of public education.”

As the 2016 election season gets fully underway, the results find support for early learning in majorities of critical swing voter groups who say they would be impressed with a candidate who calls for investments in early education – including 69% of Hispanics, 62% of Millennials, 57% of moderates, 56% of mothers, and 53% of women Independents.

Over three-fourths of American voters support increasing federal investment to help states expand access to high-quality early childhood programs for low-and moderate-income families – 59% of Republicans, 69% of Independents, and 94% of Democrats.

“Voters clearly get the value of early childhood education and they want the federal government to invest in quality programs at the state and local level,” continued Perry. “In fact, 74% of voters support a federal investment now, even if it increases the deficit in the short-term, but pays for itself in the long-term by improving children’s education, health and economic situations so that less spending will be needed in the future. 59% of Republicans see short-term investment and long-term return on investment as acceptable. It’s time for candidates to listen and policymakers to act.”

These results are particularly relevant to candidates seeking to connect with voters on family issues, as 84% of voters believe a candidate who supports early childhood education is looking out for working-and middle-class families.

Additional findings from the poll are highlighted below:

  • 88% of voters agree that with families often needing two incomes to get by and many single parents working more than one job, access to quality early childhood education is a necessity—not a luxury.
  • 89% of likely voters agree that we need to ensure more children have early learning and socialization experiences during the first five years of life.
  • Voters prioritize early education over higher education, with 42% saying we should invest more in early education alone, while 33% say we should invest equal amounts in early education and higher education. Only 21% call for more investment in college education.

View the poll results and fact sheet online at https://ffyf.org/2015-poll

The poll was commissioned by the First Five Years Fund and conducted by the bipartisan polling team of Public Opinions Strategies (R) and Hart Research (D). 800 voters throughout the country were surveyed on both landline and cell phones. The survey was fielded September 1-5, 2015 and has an overall margin of error of +/-3.46%. The sample was distributed proportionately throughout the country and is demographically representative of the national electorate.

About the First Five Year Fund: The First Five Years Fund helps America achieve better results in education, health and economic productivity through investments in quality early childhood education programs for disadvantaged children. FFYF provides knowledge, data, and advocacy – persuading federal policymakers to make investments in the first five years of a child’s life that create greater returns for all. http://www.ffyf.org