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Poll: Local Voters Back Investment in Early Childhood Education | School Zone

Posted on October 1, 2017 | 9:00 a.m.

Strong majorities of Santa Barbara voters support greater investments in programs that benefit California’s youngest children and would favor a candidate for governor who pledges to create a system of high-quality, publicly funded childcare and preschool programs, a survey has found.

These are among key findings from a just-released survey by the Santa Barbara Foundation in partnership with Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s Choose Children 2018 campaign.

Nearly nine in 10 Santa Barbara voters (85.5 percent) say it is important for California’s next governor to support more investments in programs that benefit young children, with more than 63 percent believing such support is very important.

A supermajority of 69.3 percent would support a gubernatorial candidate who pledges support for early childhood care and education (ECE).

“Voters clearly understand what years of research show: Investments in high-quality early childhood programs pay off for those children, their families and our state,” said Ronald Gallo, president/CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation.

“And what Santa Barbara voters are saying loud and clear is that now is the time for California to invest in programs that will prepare our youngest children for success in school and ensure our state has the highly trained workforce it will need in the decades to come,” he said.

Voter support is deeply rooted and shared across political party affiliation, ethnicity, gender and age groups, the poll finds.

More than eight in 10 Democrats (84.5 percent) favor a candidate for governor who wants to create a high-quality early childhood care and education system, as do 76 percent of independent voters and nearly 36.9 percent of Republicans.

Nearly three-quarters (74.8 percent) of voters would like to see local funds fees raised through a tax on marijuana product sales and licensing fees to support ECE programs.

“Voters old and young, rich and poor, Democrat, Republican and independent voters all share a common desire: more support for young children and their families,” said Rep. Salud Carbajal, D.-Santa Barbara.

“Early childhood care and education is a unifying issue, and the results of this survey make it very clear that those candidates running for governor need to have detailed and specific plans for how to build a strong early childhood system in California,” he said.

In addition, early childhood education remains a priority compared to other top issues facing the state. More than seven in 10 (73.3 percent) identified the cost of healthcare, 70.5 percent the state of K-12 and college education, 65 percent early childhood healthcare, and 64.5 percent early childhood education as the issues that should receive the highest priority for increased public investments in the state.

“As an elected official, I have worked tirelessly to ensure that our state reflects the realities faced by so many working families in our modern society.,” said state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.

“There are more women in the workforce today than ever before but parents continue to struggle to have a healthy work/life balance,” she said. “In California, I have introduced several measures that address these new realities.

“My greatest hope is that California’s next governor recognizes the growing need for policies that reflect and protect the needs of the working families today and in the future,” she said.

The poll surveyed 400 Santa Barbara voters, and was completed as part of a statewide survey conducted by the Choose Children 2018 campaign. Survey details can be found here. For full statewide results, visit www.choosechildren.org.

GrassrootsLab and Tulchin Research conducted the survey July 7 through July 15. Four hundred respondents were interviewed using live, professional interviewers, speaking Spanish and English and calling both mobile and landlines (61 of this survey was completed on mobile phones).

A survey of this size yields a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent (95 percent confidence interval). The sample is stratified, meaning the demographic composition of the results matches the demographic composition of the state’s voting population.

For more about the Santa Barbara Foundation, visit www.sbfoundation.org.

— Barbara Andersen for Santa Barbara Foundation.

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