A recent Meta-Analysis of Public Opinion Data on Support for Early Childhood Services conducted for the Bay Area Early Childhood Funders by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) provides helpful insight for successfully communicating the need for increased support for early childhood services to California voters. This report looked at polling data at the state and local level to examine voter attitudes and to identify consistent threads in messaging on early childhood issues.
The findings highlight key messaging strategies that resonate with the public and advance change for children and families. Overall the analysis determined that Californians value early childhood services and believe the services are currently under resourced. Even with the overarching value for early childhood services, voters indicated greater support for K-12 resources – in part because voters understand more clearly what K-12 education is. We have highlighted some of the messaging recommendations for building support to pass measures at the local and state levels to increase funding for early childhood services.
Focus on brain development and the critical development that occurs between ages 0-5 years old was one of the most consistently effective messages arguing the importance of investing in early childhood services.
Stress the urgency for the need to provide of childhood services. Often these services get overlooked for other pressing issues. It is important to communicate in a way that highlights this as an urgent issue in need of action.
Address rising costs of living expenses and the pressures that families are facing in this climate.Voters are aware of the increasing expenses and the need for help in order to meet the everyday needs of their family.
Do not rely solely on the long-term investment argument. Voters feel disconnected from this argument because it is void of any emotional connection and is highlighting long term economic benefits.
Do not lead with information about funding mechanisms and mechanics. Use this detailed information only to respond when questions are asked. This information does not motivate or inspire voters.
Do not use terminology that appeals to policymakers but not to voters. It is important to avoid jargon when explaining the details of a program or proposal. Jargon can be unfamiliar to voters
When it comes to what voices are most effective at sharing information and advocating for the importance of increased funding for early childhood services, the report showed that voters trust those community members who have first hand experience with the population. These include, teachers, nurses, pediatricians, parents, and police officers.
This analysis is a helpful and important tool to advocating for a strong start for every child in California. Join us at the Rise Together Opportunity Summit to learn more from David Metz. David will join other experts to speak on building political will to fund quality affordable early childhood education.
To see the full report visit http://earlychildhoodfunders.org/pdf/ECF_EC_Research_Meta-Analysis_Final_1_29_2018.pdf