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Poll Shows One Thing NC Voters Agree On

A majority of voters from both parties in North Carolina support a greater investment in early-childhood education. (preschoolprograms/
A majority of voters from both parties in North Carolina support a greater investment in early-childhood education. (preschoolprograms/
September 20, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. – While there's no shortage of policy issues North Carolina voters disagree on, there's at least one issue supported by a majority of both parties. A new poll commissioned by the First Five Years Fund with a bipartisan polling team found that 70 percent of Republicans and 92 percent of Democrats support expanded access to early-childhood education in North Carolina.

Tracy Zimmerman, executive director with the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation, said their poll results send a clear message to lawmakers and candidates running for office.

"We're a state that wholeheartedly believes we need to be doing more for our young children," she said. "It's not about whether or not you have children. We clearly know that thriving communities are rooted in making sure children are strong."

There are more than 26,000 children enrolled in North Carolina's state pre-K program, with thousands of children left on the waiting list for the program, which requires parents to qualify based on their income. Numerous bodies of research indicate the first five years of a child's life and the education they receive are indicators of future success in life and their brain development.

In the poll, 86 percent of voters rank making sure children get a strong start in life through quality early-childhood education as "extremely" or "very important," explained Zimmerman.

"It is up to voters to really be demanding of all candidates running for public office," she added. "What is their early-learning platform? How are they going to ensure that our children have the opportunity to be successful because voters recognize that a stronger North Carolina is very much rooted in what we do for our young children."

In the poll, voters ranked early childhood education ahead of reducing the tax burden to families and providing low or no-cost college.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC