North Carolina voters oppose cutting early childhood programs and would punish lawmakers who cut them, according to a new poll.
Tar Heel voters oppose cuts in programs for early childhood care and education for children under five by a 56 percent margin, according to a survey by Public Policy Polling, a Raleigh-based Democratic leaning firm. The poll found that 25 percent would support such cuts and that 18 percent were not sure.
Asked if they were more or less likely to vote for a legislator who cut funding for early childhood programs, 50 percent said they were less likely and 29 percent were more likely and 21 percent said it would make no difference.
Among independent voters who swing back and forth between parties, 59 percent said early childhood funding should not be reduced, while 21 supported a reduction. Fifty-eight percent of independents said they would punish lawmakers who cut early childhood programs.
Democrats strongly(68 percent) opposed cuts while Republicans slightly(39 percent) opposed it.
The survey was conducted as Republicans are about to take control of the state legislature and are looking for ways to address the projected $3.5 billion shortfall. The early childhood programs such as Smart Start and More at Four were championed by Democratic governors and legislators.
The spin: “Strong early childhood programs are one of North Carolina's hallmarks and have consistently proven to be very popular with voters in the state,” said Dean Debnam, president of the polling firm. “Legislators who go after them face trouble back at home for doing so.”
The survey of 517 North Carolina voters was conducted from November 19-21 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percent.