Voter Attitudes Toward Early Childhood Education

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Voter Attitudes Toward Early Childhood Education

  1. 1. Voter Attitudes Toward Early Childhood Education Prepared for: Be My Voice Hawaii July 2012
  2. 2. Executive Summary• A vast majority of respondents acknowledged the importance of preschool to the development of a child, with three-fifths saying it is “extremely important” (59%) and one-third saying it is “somewhat important” (34%).• However, perceived value of services like preschool can still improve. Similar to findings in 2011, “Services, like preschool, that prepare children under five to enter kindergarten ready to succeed” were deemed “very valuable” by smaller proportions of respondents compared to other services tested in the survey.• There is support for ensuring more children have access to preschool. When given the choice, greater proportions of respondents said that preschool should be partly free (44%) or free for all children in Hawaii (33%), rather than remain the same as it is today where those who are interested must find ways to pay for it themselves (23%).• Support for a State program that ensures all four-year olds have access to preschool is also great, with 51% of respondents saying that they would "strongly support" it and 23% saying they would "somewhat support" it.• The most convincing of the arguments tested in the survey in support of a preschool program was “Studies show that children who attend preschool are more likely to be ready for and successful in kindergarten and later school years” (based on % rating “very convincing”: 52%), followed by “85% of a child‟s brain develops by age 5. We need to spend more money on services that have an impact on the healthy development of children” (47%).
  3. 3. Executive Summary• None of the arguments tested in the survey against a preschool program were particularly convincing to respondents (based on % rating “very convincing”). The most convincing argument was “The time spent between birth and kindergarten entry is solely a parent‟s responsibility,” with 30% of respondents rating “very convincing.” The least convincing argument was “State funding for education should not begin until a child is 5 years old” (14% “very convincing).• Overall, in order to fund the preschool program, respondents were more supportive of the funding options that would affect only certain segments of the population (e.g., households with income of over $500,000, soda drinkers) rather than the entire population. Eight funding options for the preschool program were tested in the survey. Respondents would be most amenable to the following options, based on responses to “Which of the following would you „strongly support‟ the most? – A lottery run by the State, where lottery revenue would help fund the program” topped the list as the option that respondents would “strongly support the most (21%) – An income tax increase for households with annual household income of over $500,000 (18%) – A 5-cent tax on soda and other sugary beverages (16%).• One in five respondents (20%) reportedly would not “strongly support” any of the funding options tested in the survey.
  4. 4. Executive Summary KEY OBSERVATIONS NOTED AMONG STRONG SUPPORTERS* • A majority of strong supporters of the preschool program do not have children under 18 living in their household. Strong supporters also tended to be female, Democrats, and non-union members. • Strong supporters of the program would be more likely to support “an income tax increase for households with annual income of over $500,000” than any of the other funding options tested in the survey (based on 66% rating “strongly support” and 26% saying “strongly support the most”). • More than one-fourth of strong supporters would be opposed to “a 0.25% in the General Excise Tax” to fund the preschool program, a greater proportion compared to the other options tested in the survey (based on % “strongly oppose”: 27%).* Respondents who said they would “strongly support” a program, supported by State funding, that ensures all four-year olds have access to preschool (51%).
  5. 5. Executive Summary KEY OBSERVATIONS NOTED AMONG SWING GROUP* • The following respondents were over-represented in the swing group: – Japanese – Respondents with annual household income of $100,000 and over – Respondents who did not have children under 18 living in their household – Respondents who did not have children attending or attended preschool – Democrats – Non-union members • The campaign needs to emphasize the importance of preschool to the swing group. Less than two-fifths said that preschool is “extremely important” (37%), compared to 82% of strong supporters who felt similarly. Additionally, a smaller proportion of the swing group, compared to strong supporters and strong opponents, said “services, like preschool, that prepare children under five to enter kindergarten, ready to succeed” are “very valuable. • Greater proportions of the swing group felt that “preschool should be partly free,” with families contributing a portion of the costs (50%) or should “remain the same as it is today, where those who are interested must find ways to pay for it themselves” (33%), rather than “free for all children in Hawaii” (16%).* Respondents who said they would “somewhat support,” “somewhat oppose,” or said “don‟t know” when asked “Would you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose a program, supported by State funding, that ensures all four-year olds have access to preschool?” (38%)
  6. 6. Executive Summary KEY OBSERVATIONS NOTED AMONG SWING GROUP* (CONTINUED) • Compared to other funding options tested in the survey, the following options received “strongly support” responses from greater proportions of swing group respondents: – A $25 per year State tax increase for the average household (32%) – An income tax increase for households with annual income of over $500,000 (30%) – A 5-cent tax on soda and other sugary beverages (28%) • When asked which of the funding options they would “strongly support the most,” a greater proportion of the swing group said “a lottery run by the State, where lottery revenue would help fund the program” (21%), compared to the other options tested in the survey. • One-third of the swing group reportedly would not “strongly support” any of the options tested in the survey to fund the preschool program (33%). • More than two-fifths of the swing group said they would “strongly oppose” “a 0.25% increase in the General Excise Tax” to fund the preschool program (44%), a greater proportion than for the other funding options tested in the survey.* Respondents who said they would “somewhat support,” “somewhat oppose,” or said “don‟t know” when asked “Would you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose a program, supported by State funding, that ensures all four-year olds have access to preschool?” (38%)
  7. 7. Executive Summary KEY OBSERVATIONS NOTED AMONG SWING GROUP* (CONTINUED) • Respondents in the swing group felt that “Studies show that children who attend preschool are more likely to be ready for and successful in kindergarten and later school years” is a more convincing argument for the preschool program than the other arguments tested in the survey (based on % rating “very convincing”: 41%). • Comparable proportions of the swing group found the following three of the four arguments tested in the survey against the preschool program to be “very convincing”: – Money is tight. The State should not be spending more money now (28%). – State government will not spend this money effectively (27%). – The time spent between birth and kindergarten is solely a parent‟s responsibility (25%).* Respondents who said they would “somewhat support,” “somewhat oppose,” or said “don‟t know” when asked “Would you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose a program, supported by State funding, that ensures all four-year olds have access to preschool?” (38%)
  8. 8. Objectives and Methodology• The overall objective of this research was: TO CONTINUE THE RESEARCH TO AID IN THE “BE MY VOICE” CAMPAIGN DEVELOPMENT --- WITH PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO MEASURING PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR VARIOUS POLICY INITIATIVES.• A Statewide telephone survey was conducted among n=418 registered Hawaii voters on June 14 to June 25, 2012. The maximum sampling error for n=418 is +/-4.7%.• n=130 interviews were conducted via cell phone to capture the proportion of the population who no longer have landlines. A list of cell phone numbers with an 808 area code was purchased from a nationally recognized sampling house.• The total sample was weighted to correct an over-representation of Caucasians and adults 55 and older. Demographics of the 2012 sample are very similar to those of the 2011 sample.• All telephone interviewing was conducted from the Ward Research Calling Center in downtown Honolulu using CATI, a Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) system. CATI allows for the 100% monitoring of calls through a combination of electronic and observational means. Data processing was accomplished using SPSS for Windows and data tables were created using Wincross, which allows for cross-tabulation of data by key variables and statistical testing including T-test for means and z-Test for percentages.
  9. 9. Objectives and Methodology• Survey questions were created by Ward Research and approved by the “Be My Voice” team. Some questions were based on a 2011 survey conducted by Ward Research for Good Beginnings Alliance. Where applicable, data was tracked for changes over time. A copy of the survey instrument is appended to this report.
  10. 10. DemographicsIsland 2011 2012 Household Income 2011 2012Oahu 75% 75% Under $35,000 21% 16%Maui 11 9 $35,000 – but under $50,000 14 14Big Island 12 11 $50,000 – but under $75,000 22 20Kauai 3 5 $75,000 – but under $100,000 13 15Age $100,000 and over 19 2318 – 24 years old 6% 5% Refused 11 1225 – 34 years old 11 10 Years Lived in Hawaii35 – 44 years old 14 11 Less than 2 years <1% 1%45 – 54 years old 19 27 2 – less than 5 years 2 255 – 64 years old 26 18 5 – less than 10 years 5 465+ years old 24 29 10 or more years 39 32Refused 1 1 Born and raised in Hawaii 55 61MEAN 52.7 54.3 Don‟t know/Refused <1 0Ethnic Identification GenderCaucasian 23% 22% Male 45% 46%Chinese 4 6 Female 55 54Filipino 15 14 Base = (402) (418)Hawaiian/part-Hawaiian 18 18Japanese 26 25Mixed 7 9Other 4 4Refused 3 1
  11. 11. DemographicsHave Children Under 18 2011 2012 Political Party Affiliation 2011 2012Yes 29% 34% Democratic party 56% 52%No 71 66 Republican party 19 17Refused <1 0 Neither/Independent 19 26 (IF YES) How many are: (MEAN) Other 3 2 Under age 3 1.24 1.11 Don‟t know/Refused 3 4 3 to 5 years old 1.13 1.17 Union Member 6 to 12 years old 1.41 1.47 Yes 33% 30% 13 to 17 years old 1.14 1.26 No 67 69Have Children Attended or Attending Don‟t know/Refused <1 1Preschool Base = (402) (418)Yes --- 43%No --- 56Refused --- <1
  12. 12. What is the most important issue facing your community? Consistent with the survey conducted for Good Beginnings Alliance in 2011, respondents were asked, top-of-mind, “In your opinion, what is the most important issue facing your community?” As shown in the graph below, a significantly larger proportion of respondents than last year said that rail is the most important issue facing their community (12% - up 10 percentage points) while a significantly smaller proportion than last year said that the economy is the most important issue facing their community (9% - down 13 percentage points). One in ten said education (11%), consistent with last year (10%), and comparable to current proportions of respondents who said rail (12%), unemployment/jobs (12%), traffic (11%), and the economy (9%). Top Five Responses Rail 12% 2% Unemployment/jobs 12% 13% Traffic 11% 7% Education 11% 10% 2012 2011 Economy 9% 22% Other 3% 3% Dont know/Refused 3% 7% 0% 20% 40%Q: In your opinion, what is the most important issue facing your community? (2012: n=418; 2011: n=402)
  13. 13. What is the most important issue facing your community? Respondents with children under 18 in their households and respondents younger than 35 were significantly more likely than others in their demographic groups to say that education is the most important issue facing their community. Children Under 18 in Age Household Yes No <35 35-54 55-64 65+ Education 18% 7% 23% 13% 10% 3% Base = (144) (274) (62) (157) (74) (119)Q: In your opinion, what is the most important issue facing your community?
  14. 14. How important is preschool? A vast majority of respondents acknowledged the importance of preschool to the development of a child. Three-fifths said it is “extremely important” (59%) and one-third (34%) said it is “somewhat important,” compared to 6% who said it is “not very important” or “not important at all.” Extremely Somewhat important, 59% important, 34% Not very important, 5% Not important at all, 1% Dont know/Refused, 1%Q: In your opinion, how important is preschool to the development of a child? Would you say it is extremely important, somewhat important, not very important or not important at all? (n=418)
  15. 15. Funding for Preschool Respondents were read the following Statements and asked with which Statement they agree the most:  Preschool should be free for all children in Hawaii, similar to K-12 education.  Preschool should be partly free; families should be asked for some portion of the costs of preschool based on their income.  Preschool should be the same as it is today where those who are interested must find ways to pay for it themselves. A majority of respondents want funding for preschool to change. Of the three choices, a greater proportion felt that preschool “should be partly free” with families contributing a portion of the costs (44%) or “free for all children” (33%) rather than “remain the same as it is today where those who are interested must pay for it themselves” (23%). Preschool should be partly free; families should be asked for some portion of the costs of preschool based on their Preschool should incomes, 44% be free for all children in Hawaii similar to K-12 Preschool should education, 33% remain the same as it is today where those who are interested must find ways to pay for it themselves, 23%Q: Which of the following Statements do you agree with the most? (n=418)
  16. 16. Funding for Preschool • Respondents younger than 35 were significantly more likely than other age groups to agree that “preschool should be free for all children in Hawaii, similar to K-12 education.” • Republicans were more likely than others in their demographic group to agree that “preschool should remain the same as it is today where those who are interested must find ways to pay for it themselves.” • Females were significantly more likely than males to choose “preschool should be partly free; families should be asked for some portion of the costs of preschool based on their income” as the Statement they agreed with the most. Age Voting Behavior Gender <35 35-54 55-64 65+ Democrat Republican Neither Male Female Preschool should be free for all children in Hawaii, similar to K-12 59% 26% 27% 32% 38% 18% 32% 35% 31% education Preschool should be partly free; families should be asked for some 34 48 53 37 46 38 45 38 49 portion of the costs of preschool based on their income Preschool should remain the same as it is today where those who are 7 26 18 31 16 45 23 27 20 interested must find ways to pay for it themselves Base = (62) (157) (74) (119) (216) (70) (107) (194) (224)Q: Which of the following Statements do you agree with the most?
  17. 17. Support for Preschool Program One-half of respondents (51%) reportedly would “strongly support” a program, supported by State funding, that ensures all four-year olds have access to preschool and approximately one-fourth (23%) would “somewhat support” it, far greater proportions than would “somewhat oppose” (12%) or “strongly oppose” (11%) the program. Somewhat support, 23% Strongly support, 51% Somewhat oppose, 12% Strongly oppose, 11% Dont know/Refused, 3%Q: Would you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose a program, supported by State funding, that ensures all four-year olds have access to preschool? (n=418)
  18. 18. Funding for Preschool ProgramRespondents were also read a list of possible options that would help fund a program that ensures allfour-year olds have access to preschool and asked whether they would “strongly support,” “somewhatsupport,” somewhat oppose,” or “strongly oppose” the option. o A 1% budget cut to every State department, including the Department of Health, the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, and the Department of Public Safety o A 5-cent tax on soda and other sugary beverages o An income tax increase for households with annual income of over $500,000 o A lottery run by the State, where lottery revenue would help fund the program o A 0.25% increase in the General Excise Tax o A $100 per year State tax increase for the average household. o A $50 per year State tax increase for the average household. o A $25 per year State tax increase for the average household.• “An income tax increase for households with annual income of over $500,000” and “a $25 per year State tax increase for the average household” received the most “strongly support” mentions from respondents (48% and 47%, respectively).• “A 0.25% increase in the General Excise tax” and “A State tax increase for the average household by about $100 per year” received the least “strongly support” mentions (16% and 15%, respectively).
  19. 19. Funding for Preschool Program An income tax increase for households with annual income of 48% over $500,000 A $25 state tax increase per year for the average household 47% A 5-cent tax on soda and other sugary beverages 36% A lottery run by the State, where lottery revenue would help 34% fund the program A $50 state tax increase per year for the average household 34% A 1% budget cut to every State department 27% A 0.25% increase in the General Excise Tax 16% Strongly support A $100 state tax increase per year for the average household 15% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%Q: Would you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose the following to help fund a program that ensures all four-year olds have access to preschool?
  20. 20. Funding for Preschool Program “Strongly Support the Most” Respondents were then asked which option they “strongly support the most” from the options where they responded “strongly support.” (Note that all of the respondents who said “strongly support” to one option also said “strongly support” to at least one other option; 20% of respondents reportedly would not “strongly support” any of the options.) “A lottery run by the State, where lottery revenue would help fund the program” topped the list as the option that respondents would “strongly support the most” (21%), followed closely by “an income tax increase for households with annual household income of over $500,000” (18%) and “a 5-cent tax on soda and other sugary beverages” (16%). A lottery run by the State, where lottery revenue would help 21% fund the program An income tax increase for households with annual incomes of 18% over $500,000 A 5-cent tax on soda and other sugary beverages 16% A 1% budget cut to every State department 10% A $25 state tax increase per year for the average household 10% A 0.25% increase in the General Excise Tax 3% Dont know/Refused 2% Did not "strongly support" any option 20% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%Q: (IF MORE THAN ONE “STRONGLY SUPPORT) Which of the following do you “strongly support” the most? (n=418)
  21. 21. Funding for Preschool • One-half of strong supporters felt that “preschool should be free for all children in Hawaii” (50%), a slightly greater proportion than those who felt that “preschool should be partly free” (45%). • A greater proportion of the swing group felt that “preschool should be partly free” (50%), rather than completely free (16%). Note that one-third of the swing group felt that “preschool should remain the same as it is today, where those who are interested must find ways to pay for it themselves” (33%). • One in six of the strong opponents felt that “preschool should be partly free” (16%). Three-fourths felt that “preschool should remain the same as it is today where those who are interested must find ways to pay for it themselves” (75%). Strong Swing Group Strong Opponents Supporters Preschool should be free for all children in 50% 16% 8% Hawaii, similar to K-12 education. Preschool should be partly free; families should be asked for some portion of the costs of preschool based 45 50 16 on their income. Preschool should remain the same as it is today where those who are interested must find ways to pay for it 5 33 75 themselves. Base = (213) (159) (46)Q: Which of the following Statements do you agree with the most?
  22. 22. Funding for Preschool Program• Two out of three strong supporters said they would “strongly support” “an income tax increase for households with annual income of over $500,000” (66%) and “a $25 per year State tax increase for the average household” (64%) to support the preschool program, a greater proportion than for any of the funding options tested in the survey.• Strong support for any of the funding options among the swing group were rather low. The following options received the most “strongly support” mentions: – A $25 per year State tax increase for the average household (32%) – An income tax increase for households with annual income of over $500,000 (30%) – A 5-cent tax on soda and other sugary beverages (28%).• When asked which of the funding options they would “strongly support the most,” one in five in the swing group said “a lottery run by the State, were lottery revenue would help fund the program” (21%), a greater proportion compared to the other funding options tested in the survey. One-third reportedly would not “strongly support” any of the options (33%).• A greater proportion of strong opponents said they would “strongly support” a “1% budget cut to every State department” (31%), compared to other options tested in the survey. A greater proportion of strong opponents also said they would strongly support the budget cut “the most” (22%), compared to the other options.

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