Poll reveals bipartisan support for Smart Start

A press release from Buncombe Partnership for Children:

Poll on Smart Start supportA bipartisan poll released by the North Carolina Early Childhood Education Foundation (NCECF) and the First Five Years Fund (FFYF) shows broad support across party lines for providing greater access to Smart Start and NC Pre-K.

“Our local investments in young children, their families and the early childhood system in Buncombe County are essential to the long-term success of our children,” said Amy Barry, Executive Director, Buncombe Partnership for Children, a partner in the Smart Start network. “Today’s poll shows that North Carolina voters care deeply about elected officials investing in early education with seventy-four percent of NC voters saying we should be doing more to ensure children begin kindergarten with the knowledge and skills they need. This level of support reflects a nine percent increase from 2014.”

84 percent of North Carolina voters support expanding Smart Start and NC Pre-K. That includes 70 percent of Republicans (up from 50 percent), 92 percent of Democrats (same as 2014), and 87 percent of independents (up from 73 percent) that all support increasing funding for these programs.

“These poll results speak to the value of Smart Start to local communities across our state,” said Cindy Watkins, President of the North Carolina Partnership for Children, the organization that leads the Smart Start network. “Ensuring our youngest children and families have the care and education they need is a critical part of what we do every day at Smart Start – it is encouraging to know that a vast majority of North Carolina voters support our work.”

Voters recognize that early learning investments have both short- and long-term benefits. More than three out of four voters say that high quality early learning programs set children up for success in elementary, middle and high school; help children achieve their third grade reading goals; and create a larger pool of highly skilled workers in the long term.

“North Carolina voters wholeheartedly agree that building a stronger North Carolina is rooted in ensuring our children have a strong start,” said Tracy Zimmerman, NCECF Executive Director. “There are few issues that enjoy this level of bipartisan support. Every candidate for public office should have an early learning strategy, and voters should ask them about their plans.”

The poll was commissioned by First Five Years Fund in conjunction with a bipartisan polling team of Public Opinion Strategies (R) and Hart Research (D). The sample was distributed proportionately throughout the state and is demographically representative of the electorate.

Recently the First Five Years Fund released the results of its fourth annual national poll, showing a similar trend among voters nationwide. Even in the midst of an angry and polarized election, 90% of voters agree on one thing: Congress and the next president should work together to make quality early childhood education more accessible and affordable to low- and middle-income families.


About Buncombe Partnership for Children: Buncombe Partnership for Children invests locally in the First 2,000 Days of a child’s life by strengthening the capacity of educators, families, and the community to build a strong foundation for children’s learning and development beginning at birth. Learn more about BPFC at www.buncombepfc.org.

About the North Carolina Partnership for Children and Smart Start: Smart Start is a network of 75 nonprofit local partnerships that serve all 100 North Carolina counties. This network is led by The North Carolina Partnership for Children (NCPC) that ensures fiscal and programmatic accountability, and coordinates the statewide network to create better outcomes for children and families. Learn more about NCPC and the Smart Start network at www.smartstart.org.

About the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation: NCECF is the state lead for the National Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a national collaborative effort to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship. NCECF builds public will by advancing understanding of birth-through-eight child development and promotes practice and policy solutions that drive aligned action to support each child being on a pathway to grade-level reading. Learn more at http://www.buildthefoundation.org.

About the First Five Years Fund: The First Five Years Fund helps America achieve better results in education, health and economic productivity through investments in quality early childhood education programs for disadvantaged children. FFYF provides knowledge, data, and advocacy – persuading federal policymakers to make investments in the first five years of a child’s life that create greater returns for all. http://www.ffyf.org.


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