HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Partners of Early Learning PA Coalition says new polling data shows voters widely support early childhood care and education programs.

The data, commissioned by the Early Learning PA Coalition and conducted by Susquehanna Polling and Research, comes two weeks after a judge ruled Pennsylvania does not equitably fund public education.

The poll, conducted from Feb. 1 to Feb. 7, 2023, showed 98% of Pennsylvania voters believe early childhood education is important.

Voters also supported things like investment in early care and education programs like pre-K, high-quality childcare, and home visiting services.

The overall support of voters has grown since June 2022, according to the poll, which showed the support for the importance of childhood education to rise by eight percentage points.

“Ninety-eight percent of Pennsylvanians have reached consensus that early childhood education is an important piece of what it takes to lead a healthy and productive life,” said Steve Doster, State Director of Mission: Readiness – a principal partner in the Early Learning PA Coalition. “Even more amazing is that this level of support is consistent across all age brackets, education levels, ethnicity, and gender. There is also no discernable difference between the views of Republicans or Democrats, conservative or liberal – they are all at or above 98% in agreement. The same goes for voters in different regions of the state.”

The poll also showed that 78% of PA voters support increasing state funding to serve more eligible children in pre-k programs. This is an increase of 65% in 2022. Seventy-eight percent of PA voters also support increasing state funding to help more low-income working families afford high-quality childcare. This is up from 67% in 2022.

A total of 62% of voters supported the increase of state funding to provide voluntary home visiting services to eligible families, up from 60% in 2022. The poll also found that 81% of PA voters favor allocating state funding to increase wages of childcare workers.

“Few issues have united both Republicans and Democrats in Pennsylvania like early care and education,” said Kristen Rotz, President of the United Way of Pennsylvania and principal partner in the Early Learning PA Coalition. “At a time of political polarization, Pennsylvania voters responded unanimously that early childhood care and education is not only a uniting issue, but one that the majority want prioritized in our state spending.

“As we start budget season here in Harrisburg, the partners of the Early Learning PA Coalition urge Governor Shapiro and all members of the General Assembly to respond to this level of voter support for growing the Commonwealth’s investments in early care and education. Pennsylvania must make these programs more accessible to children and families that qualify and further stabilize and strengthen the system by addressing historic teacher shortages caused by low wages.” said Rotz.

Stay up to date on the latest from abc27 News on-air and on the go with the free abc27 Mobile app.

The Early Learning PA Coalition was joined by State Representative and Senator-elect Lynda Culver, State Representative Pat Harkins, and TaTyana Abreu, a mother of a pre-k student and staff member at York Day Early Learning.