Poll: 82 percent of Hawai‘i voters support state-subsidized preschool

Public support for free or partially free preschool for all 4-year-olds in Hawai’i jumped by 8 percentage points from last year, according to a recent poll of registered voters commissioned by the Good Beginnings Alliance.

Voters also open to Constitutional Amendment to allow for public funding for preschool

Honolulu, Hawai‘i -- Public support for free or partially free preschool for all 4-year-olds in Hawai’i jumped by 8 percentage points from last year, according to a recent poll of registered voters commissioned by the Good Beginnings Alliance.

A total of 82 percent of poll respondents said that preschool should either be free or families should pay for a portion of the cost. That number in a poll conducted for Good Beginnings Alliance last year was at 74 percent.

This year’s poll also shows that 82 percent of those surveyed support state-funded preschool. Of that number, 51 percent indicated they “strongly support” state funded preschool.

“The vast majority of people in the state of Hawaii are keenly aware of the benefits of early learning for our children and we believe that’s why support is so strong and getting stronger,” said Deborah Zysman, executive director of Good Beginnings Alliance. “This gives us reason to believe that the public supports increased financial support for Hawai‘i’s families wanting to send their 4-year-olds to preschool.”

QMark Research interviewed 400 registered voters who had voted in the 2012 General Election. The polling took place from June 21 to July 7. The margin of error is 4.9 percent.

This past year saw great strides in establishing a state-funded preschool system. The newly-created Executive Office of Early Learning was up and running, a new law and funding for a school readiness program (SB 1093) is now on the books and thousands of community advocates joined together to be a voice for our children.

“The foundation for a state-funded preschool system has been created and we ask the community to join us in taking this effort to the next level,” Zysman said. “Let’s get preschool for all 4-year-olds.”

The poll also asked voters about support for a proposed Constitutional Amendment that the state Legislature approved for placement on the 2014 General Election ballot:

“Shall the appropriation of public funds be permitted for the support or benefit of private early childhood education programs that shall not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex or ancestry, as provided by law?”

If ratified by the majority of votes – 50 percent plus one vote -- the amendment would allow families to use state funding to pay for private preschool. “No” and “blank” votes would count as opposing votes.

Respondents were presented with position statements for and against amending the Constitution and then they were asked how they would vote on the amendment question if the election were held on the day they were surveyed.

A total of 52 percent answered, “Yes,” to amending the Constitution, 43 percent said, “No, ” and 5 percent did not know or refused to answer the question.

 

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Good Beginnings Alliance is Hawai‘i’s premiere children’s advocacy organization ensuring that children from pre-birth to 8 years old in Hawai‘i are healthy, safe and ready for school. The grassroots, public will-building campaign, Be My Voice! Hawai‘i, is committed to ensuring every child has access to quality preschool so they can succeed in school and in life. Go to www.goodbeginnings.org for more information.