February 11, 2016
Concord, NH. – An exit poll conducted for the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy showed that income inequality was the most important issue (22 percent) for Democratic primary voters.
The exit poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, surveyed 397 Democratic primary voters and 412 Republican primary voters to gauge how voters assessed each candidate’s position on a variety of issues. The data shows that Democratic voters focused heavily on each candidate’s stance on family friendly workplace policies.
Voters in the Democratic primary ranked the candidate’s position on the following issues as somewhat or very important – funding paid family and medical leave (78 percent), increasing the minimum wage (76 percent), paid sick days (74 percent), and ensuring access to quality, affordable child care (67 percent).
“We know that New Hampshire families care about policies that will help them be better able to provide for their families and ensure their loved ones are well cared for,” said Amanda Sears, director of the New Hampshire Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy. “Voters want to be able to care for a sick child without risking their livelihood and need a wage that allows them to put food on the table; there are concrete policies that resolve these issues and help stabilize our economy. Voters are pushing for tangible change on these issues at both the national and state level."
The New Hampshire Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy has built tremendous support over the previous months and has collected more than 17,000 signatures in support of candidates who will fight for hardworking families and help communities thrive. The Campaign encouraged candidates from both parties to detail their plans and support for fair workplace policies.
Those signatures mirrored the responses of many in the poll. Democratic primary voters held consistent beliefs regarding the importance of the issues polled – minimum wage, affordable child care, paid family and medical leave, and paid sick days – regardless of whether they voted for Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton.
While Republican voters focused less on the issues outlined above, 33 percent designated jobs and the economy as the most important issue in selecting a candidate, issues that are closely linked to family friendly workplace policies. Research indicates that when employees have access to earned sick days and higher wages, they are more likely to stay in the workforce, are more productive in their jobs and are more loyal to their employer. This saves companies millions in rehiring and retraining costs and contributes to a sustainable economy.
“It’s abundantly clear from these polling results that New Hampshire voters – like voters across the country – are frustrated with our nation’s growing income inequality. This exit poll reflects what we’ve been hearing in cities and states across our nation – citizens want officials who will support policies that will benefit both families and the economy,” said Lisa Guide, Associate Director of the Rockefeller Family Fund, who is funding an effort to bring mandatory paid sick leave to New Hampshire. Currently, there are 26 sick leave laws in the country, mostly enacted in the past few years.
The lack of work-family policies places a significant burden on families, particularly women and mothers. Across the country, more than 70 percent of employers offer no paid maternity leave. The U.S. lags far behind other countries in this regard, and families pay the price. Furthermore, the vast majority of families have both parents in the labor force, making access to child care a necessity. For many families with young children, child care costs now exceed rent for the largest monthly expenditure at nearly $1,000 per child per month for full time care.
Over the past several months, the New Hampshire effort has built momentum for these policies and demonstrated broad support. Leading up to both the Republican and Democratic debates, campaign leaders wrote open letters to the candidates, urging them to address their stance on policies like affordable child care and earned sick days. The Campaign pressed candidates to answer tough questions related to family friendly policies and captured their responses on video. Campaign advocates also drove a “Family Van” throughout New Hampshire to meet community members and candidates on the campaign trail and to call attention to the imminent need for policies that work for America’s families.
The Campaign will continue to advocate for family friendly workplace policies at the state level in the coming months.