Voters Want Budget Solutions that Protect Children
Washington – As Congress works to deliver a budget compromise before Friday’s deadline, a nationwide poll released today by the bipartisan children’s advocacy organization First Focus Campaign for Children shows broad support protecting for federal investments in America’s children. The poll, conducted by the Republican polling firm American Viewpoint, found that strong bipartisan majorities, as well as independent voters and supporters of the Tea Party, backed continued and expanded federal investments in children.
“American voters are unified on one thing – they want Congress to invest in kids,” said First Focus Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley.
Particularly relevant to this week’s budget negotiations, voters rejected budget cuts to federal children’s initiatives, including:
- By more than a four-to-one margin (77 to 18 percent), voters oppose cuts to child abuse and neglect prevention, including 69 percent of Republicans, 86 percent of Democrats, and 77 percent of independents;
- By a ratio of more than three to one (67 to 21 percent), voters reject cuts to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), including 57 percent of Republicans, 85 percent of Democrats, and 61 percent of independents.
- By a ratio of more than three to one (74 to 23 percent), voters oppose K-12 education cuts, including 63 percent of Republicans, 87 percent of Democrats, and 71 percent of independents;
- More than two-thirds (68 percent) of voters oppose cuts to tax credits like the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit, (including 59 percent of Republicans, 79 percent of Democrats, and 65 percent of independents), while just 26 percent favor such cuts;
- Nearly three-fourths (71 percent) of voters oppose cuts to Medicaid (including 63 percent of Republicans, 85 percent of Democrats, and 66 percent of independents), while just 26 percent favor Medicaid cuts;
- By a two-to-one margin (64 to 31 percent), voters oppose cuts to Head Start, including 77 percent of Democrats, and 60 percent of independents;
- Nearly two-thirds (60 percent) of voters reject cuts to child care (including 50 percent of Republicans, 71 percent of Democrats, and 59 percent of independents), while just 36 percent of voters favor such cuts;
- By a ratio of nearly two to one (62 to 32 percent), voters oppose cuts to early learning for young children, including 50 percent of Republicans, 77 percent of Democrats, and 59 percent of independents.
The poll not only shows strong bipartisan support for individual children’s initiatives, but also concerns about the well-being of children and broad and emphatic support for prioritizing children during tough fiscal times:
- A majority (57 percent) of voters believe the lives of children are worse today than ten years ago, while 27 percent think children’s lives are about the same, and just 13 percent feel children’s lives are better – the 13 to 57 percent margin is the worst since the Campaign for Children began polling on this question in 2007;
- Just one-fourth (26 percent) of voters are confident that our children’s generation will have better lives than we do today, whereas two-thirds (67 percent) are not confident; and
- When asked to prioritize deficit reduction and protecting investments in children, 31% of respondents placed a higher priority on investments in children, while 26% placed a higher priority on deficit reduction, and 41% rated both as equally important.
A bipartisan bicameral budget negotiation committee outlined a short-term budget package Tuesday that would ease the burden of 2012’s federal budget sequestration cuts. If applied proportionally to children’s initiatives, the budget deal’s sequestration relief would result in an estimated $3.6 billion in restored federal fiscal year 2014 funding for initiatives benefitting children, including $1.8 billion for K-12 education, $370 million in restored Head Start funding.
“This budget deal creates an opportunity to deliver what voters want – a budget that reinvests in children,” said Lesley.
American Viewpoint surveyed registered voters by telephone, with 50 percent of the interviews conducted via cell phone, between December 4th and December 8th, 2012. The poll of 800 registered voters has a margin of error of ± 3.46 percent in 95 out of 100 cases.
The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit www.ffcampaignforchildren.org.