RELEASE: Ahead of November Elections, New Polling Finds Overwhelming Support for Investing In and Expanding Access to Child Care as Families Struggle Amidst COVID-19

Washington, D.C. — Ahead of the upcoming national elections, the Center for American Progress released the results of a new nationally representative survey that looks at the degree to which the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted families’ access to child care as well as the breadth of public support for investing in improved access to quality, affordable child care in the United States. The survey polled 1,400 respondents, with over samples of African American and Hispanic women. Key findings from the poll include:

  • More than 4 in 10 parents report having been unable to return to work fully due to child care-related issues.
  • Sixty percent of parents say finding quality, affordable child care in their community is a serious problem.
  • Forty-two percent of parents report that their child care costs have increased during the pandemic while just 13 percent say that the cost has decreased.
  • During the pandemic, half of all parents say that their families’ wages or hours have been cut, and 42 percent of parents say that they or a family member have suffered significant mental health challenges.
  • A majority of parents say transitioning to virtual learning has been difficult and that they are uncomfortable sending their kids to a child care center or home-based provider during the pandemic.

The survey also finds that 60 percent of Americans would like to see the government play a larger role in ensuring that families have access to quality, affordable child care, with the greatest support coming from African American and Hispanic women as well as young people. Seventy percent of voters would support Congress increasing funding for child care, and a strong majority of voters say that future coronavirus legislation should include relief for child care. A majority of voters also indicated that they’d be more likely to vote for a candidate that supports increasing investments in child care to bring down costs and expand access.

In addition to testing which messages about the need to invest in child care and expand early learning options resonate most with voters, the poll also gauged support for different child care policy solutions, finding:

  • Nearly 9 in 10 Americans—including more than 8 in 10 Republican—say they would support a proposal to ensure child care workers earn a living wage.
  • Nearly 8 in 10 voters support guaranteeing child care assistance to low-income and middle-class families on a sliding scale based on household income.
  • Three in four voters support offering low-income and middle-class families a tax credit of up to $8,000 to help pay for child care.
  • Eight in ten Americans—including 72 percent of Republicans—support making pre-K for every 3 year-old and 4 year-old available.

Please click here to read “What Do Voters Want on Child Care Ahead of the 2020 Elections?” by John Halpin, Karl Agne, and Nisha Jain.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at cseeberger@americanprogress.org or 202.741.6292.