Press Release - September 28, 2017

Nearly 9 in 10 Voters Support Greater Investment in Early Childhood Care & Education by California’s Next Governor

Statewide Poll by Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s Choose Children 2018 Campaign Reveals Electorate Deeply Supportive of Programs Benefitting Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – Nearly nine in ten California voters say it is important for California’s next governor to support greater investment in programs that benefit our state’s young children, according to a new statewide poll released today by Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s Choose Children 2018 campaign. Voter support is deep-rooted and shared across ethnicity, age, gender, political party, and throughout California’s diverse geographic communities. The poll, which was conducted by a bipartisan team of pollsters, found that nearly nine in ten voters (87.7%) agreed it is important for California’s next governor to support greater investment in early childhood education programs.

“The data is clear – early childhood education stands out as a priority among California’s voters,” said Avo Makdessian, Vice President and Director of the Center for Early Learning at Silicon Valley Community Foundation. “Voters old and young, rich and poor, Democrat, Republican and independent voters all agree that California’s next governor must address this issue and invest more in early care and education for our young children.”

Three-quarters of voters (73.1%) would support a 2018 gubernatorial candidate who wants to create a system of high-quality, publicly funded childcare and preschool programs for all California babies, toddlers and preschoolers. That support is shared across ethnicity, geography and political party. Statewide, 50% of Republicans, 84.4% of Democrats and 77.8% of independent voters would support a candidate for governor who invests more in early care and education. Strong support was shared by voters in Los Angeles (78.5%), San Francisco (75.5%), and San Diego (69.0%) counties.

“This coming election is a defining moment for our state and our youngest children,” Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said. “High-quality early childhood programs are an essential part of the solution to California’s toughest challenges. Whether addressing homelessness or housing insecurity, poverty or economic mobility, providing children with a strong foundation for their future is a critical part of the solution. I applaud Choose Children’s effort to push this critical state issue to the forefront of next year's election.”

The poll’s findings also revealed that early childhood education stands out as a priority even when compared to other top priorities facing the state. Specifically, seven in 10 voters cite it as a “top” or “high” priority, placing it in the top tier of priorities on par with education and public safety and even ahead of infrastructure and the environment, to which the legislature and Governor dedicated significant resources in recent legislative sessions. And unlike other issues, voters view early childhood education as a priority across the state and political spectrum.

“The voters want a children’s governor,” said Ted Lempert, president of Children Now. “They are essentially saying to all candidates, ‘if you want my vote, you must make the needs of infants, toddlers and preschoolers a priority’.” Lastly, pollsters engaged voters about their willingness to fund revenue options to provide early childhood education programs. Statewide, three-quarters of voters (75.4%) support dedicating a portion of the taxes generated from marijuana to help fund early childhood education programs while 70.6% of voters believe that paying for early childhood education programs should come from existing state funds.


About the Poll
GrassrootsLab and Tulchin Research conducted the survey from Friday, July 7 through Saturday, July 15, 2017. Eight hundred (800) respondents were interviewed using live, professional interviewers, speaking Spanish, Chinese (Simple Mandarin) and English languages and calling both mobile and landlines (61.4% of this survey was completed on mobile phones). A survey of this size yields a margin of error of +/-3.5% (95% confidence interval). The sample is stratified, meaning that the demographic composition of the results matches the demographic composition of the state’s voting population. Several oversamples were completed in addition to the base 800 interviews, including 100 Latino voters, 200 Asian Pacific Islander voters, 100 of those with No Party Preference, 400 interviews in San Diego County and 400 in Santa Barbara County.


About Choose Children 2018
Choose Children 2018 is a statewide campaign committed to ensuring California’s next governor is a champion for young children who makes early childhood care and education more accessible, affordable, and of higher quality. The initiative is led by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s Center for Early Learning in partnership with community, business, philanthropic, and educational leaders throughout California. Learn more at

About Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation advances innovative philanthropic solutions to challenging problems. As the largest community foundation in the world, we engage donors and corporations from Silicon Valley, across the country and around the globe to make our region and world better for all. Our passion for helping people and organizations achieve their philanthropic dreams has created a global philanthropic enterprise committed to the belief that possibilities start here. Learn more at