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Poll: Mothers Rank Education Investing As Priority, Especially College Affordability

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By Lillian Mongeau. Cross-posted from the Early Years blog.

A wide-ranging poll of 1,000 likely female voters with children under 18 at home shows that mothers care deeply about investing in education.

Poll-pres.pngHigh quality early education was among the top three priorities for 25 percent of the likely voters surveyed in the demographically representative sample. But making college affordable was the top education-related concern: it was among the top three priorities for 62 percent of respondents.

The findings were released today in a report called The Shriver Report Snapshot: Insight Into The Resilient American Mother. Shriver Report Snapshot, led by journalist Maria Shriver, partnered witih Save the Children Action Network, the political arm of the children's issues non-profit Save the Children, to produce the report.

Not surprisingly, work benefits like paid parental leave and on-site day care were of more importance to younger mothers, mostly Millennials, with younger children at home. Millennial moms were also the only generation to rate paid paternity leave as a policy that would have a larger positive impact on them than paid maternity leave, possibly indicating a real swing in family values to more equal parenting duties.

Poll-work.pngRepublican moms are most concerned with declining moral values, while Democratic mothers are more concerned with violence in schools. Black and Latina mothers are especially concerned about violence in schools with 46 percent of Black moms and 33 percent of Latina moms rating it among their top three concerns.

And while Hillary Clinton would handily win an election held by the mothers surveyed, Bernie Sanders would give her a run for her money.  When asked which candidate they support, 29 percent of the total sample chose Clinton, 19 percent selected Sanders and 16 percent picked Donald Trump.

But the breakdowns are different based on the political affiliation of respondents: Clinton garners the support of 48 percent of Democratic respondents. Among Republican women, Trump leads with 32 percent. Among independents, Clinton, Sanders and "I don't know" each garnered about 22 percent support.

Poll-education.pngInterestingly, it appears the "woman card" may in fact be helping Hillary among mothers. Nearly two-thirds of moms thought a candidate who has been a mother would be likely to do more for children than a non-mother president. Even among Republican mothers, 45 percent agreed with that statement.

The poll was conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, a nonpartisan polling firm now known as PSB, conducted the poll March 7-15. The margin of error for the general population sample is plus or minus 2.47 percent.

Charts: Courtesy Penn Schoen Berland and the Save the Children Action Network.

Related story: Poll: Parents Believe Children Doing Better Academically Than Scores Show

Contact Sarah Tully at [email protected].

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