By a 6-to-1 margin, voters agree too little is being spent
Americans may be more divided on politics than ever before, but there’s one thing nearly everyone agrees upon: children are our future. Now, a national poll backs up this sentiment with hard data.
By a 6-to-1 margin American voters believe the federal government is spending too little on the safety, health, and overall well-being of our children, according to a recent national poll of 1,000 likely voters by Lake Research Partners. The poll showed that Americans across divisions such as race, gender, or political party all consistently support permanently funding programs such as the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Americans also strongly support putting supports, structures and standards to place to ensure public policy accounts for the health, safety and well-being of the nation’s children. Voters overwhelmingly agreed (82%) that children need greater attention and coordination across our federal, state and local governments.
The most common concerns are education, child abuse, mental health, hunger, homelessness, and child poverty.
Investing in Children Should be the Norm
“Emergency funding during the pandemic showed Americans what we can do when we invest in our children: slash poverty, slash hunger, keep kids from experiencing homelessness, give more of them health care and robustly protect their well-being,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus on Children, which commissioned the poll conducted by Lake Research Partners. “We need to make this attention, care, and investment in our children the norm, not the exception.”
Voters surveyed by Lake Research Partners overwhelmingly supported bipartisan efforts to permanently fund CHIP, with 66% of respondents strongly favoring it. As it stands, CHIP serves nearly 10 million children, but it is the only public insurance program which doesn’t have permanent funding.
In addition to providing access to everyday healthcare, CHIP also provides the children of working-class families access to:
- Mental health care
- Dental care
- Special health care
- Eye and hearing exams in some cases
Regarding mental health care, up to 69% of likely voters responded they felt the government was spending too little on fixing the mental health crisis that faces our children. By making sure we invest in kids, we can improve the well-being of millions of children nationwide.
Expanded Child Tax Credit’s Monthly Payments were Wildly Successful
Voters also expressed favor for the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC). Up to 57% of respondents voiced “strong” favorability. Additionally, parents favor the policy by 77%.
The federal government stimulus payments and monthly child tax credits in 2020/2021 were wildly successful, lifting 4.6 million children out of poverty. The impact of the expanded child tax credit’s cash benefit being paid monthly instead of a lump sum credit at tax time was immediate — and the lack of them was equally immediate — with 3.7 million kids falling back into poverty in January 2022, just one month after the child tax credit expired.
IRS data shows up to 35 million American families benefited from the expanded CTC in 2021. Nearly 9 out of every 10 families with low incomes (less than $35,000) used their monthly Child Tax Credit payments for the most basic household expenses — food, clothing, shelter, and utilities — or education. Favor for expanding the CTC was found to be consistent across multiple groups, including gender, race, and party affiliation.
“Americans know there are real problems when it comes to kids, and they want an affirmative agenda to address those problems,” said Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners. “People want to invest in our kids and grandkids because it is good for them and good for our society as a whole.”
Child poverty doesn’t just affect the children themselves, it affects communities, states and even nations. Poor children suffer from poorer health, struggle more academically, develop fewer skills for the workforce, and earn lower wages as adults.
American voters get it. It’s time for our local, state and federal policies to catch up.