Universal Pre-K: Wide support for expansion

March 10, 2014, 3:49 PM GMT+0

Most Democrats and Independents back universal pre-K, but few have heard a lot about pre-kindergarten or its expansion

Two years in a row President Barack Obama has called upon the government and the states to improve access to high quality pre-K education. President Obama, along with many other proponents of expanding pre-K, say that it can have a major impact on the life chances of children and will help create a more dynamic workforce in the years to come. The cause has been popular in Democratic circles for some time but many Republicans - including the GOP governors of Michigan and Alabama - have begun to push for investment to widen access to pre-K education and have become some of the most prominent advocates of pre-K.

The latest research from YouGov shows that despite the political attention given to the issue in recent years few Americans - only 16% - have heard 'a lot' about pre-kindergarten programs. 49% have only heard a little, while 35% have heard nothing at all.

Nevertheless, most Americans (60%) support the government funding universal pre-K, while only 29% oppose it. Support is highest among Democrats (80%), but most Independents (56%) also support government funded universal pre-K. Even among Republicans support for universal pre-K is relatively high, though Republicans are more likely to oppose (49%) than support (40%) increased government funding for pre-K.

In New York the fight over pre-kindergarten education and how to fund its universal expansion has become one of the major flashpoints between the moderate and liberal wings of the Democratic Party. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to fund it out of a tax increase on the city's wealthiest but the state's governor Andrew Cuomo wants to create a statewide program from existing funds.

Full poll results can be found here.

Image: Getty

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