(Washington, DC) — At a time when the country is politically divided, one issue that unites voters is the strong need for caregiving solutions as part of the COVID-19 relief and economic recovery. Voters — across gender, race, and party identification — see the importance of care policies, according to an omnibus survey from the National Partnership for Women & Families, National Women’s Law Center, and TIME’S UP Now.
“The caregiving crisis has left families at a breaking point, forcing thousands of women to leave the workforce and reversing years of progress for gender equity,” said Tina Tchen, president and CEO of TIME’S UP Now. “Advancing the policies that help address the nation’s caregiving crisis is critical to both addressing this demand from voters and unifying our country.”
For many voters in the 2020 election, caregiving has a direct impact on their personal lives: One-third of voters and half of parents say caregiving demands have increased since the COVID-19 pandemic. These increases are affecting men as well as women, including 32 percent of women and 31 percent of men, and 51 percent of mothers and 50 percent of fathers.
As a result of the pandemic, 23 percent said increased care burdens have impacted their employment, including: leaving a job (6 percent), reducing their hours (10 percent), or taking time off because of their health, because of virtual school or limited child care options, or to care for a child or loved one with a serious health issue (9 percent).
“Working families are struggling with a new normal, which our country has no infrastructure for,” said Debra Ness, President of National Partnership for Women & Families. “This survey not only gives voice to that, but it also gives clear direction to policymakers and advocates on what’s needed to ensure we not just recover from the pandemic, but that we also create a more just and equitable society.”
The poll found that voters view care policies, such as safe and affordable child care and long-term care for elder relatives or those with disabilities, as an important part of a broad issue agenda to recover and build back from the COVID-19 crisis — even more important than reducing the deficit and reducing the national debt and cutting regulations on businesses.
Notably, voters don’t just want relief for working families; they also recognize that care policies should include a living wage and better working conditions for paid caregivers. There is also clear support from voters to make permanent the emergency paid sick days and paid family leave provisions enacted this Spring, as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
“The American people have long known policies that support care workers are essential to a more equitable economy and a more just society, a reality made all the more stark by the unprecedented crisis we face,” said Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center. “This last election cycle is a reminder the partisanship and division that defines our politics is a choice we make when we ignore the needs of the very people who make our entire economy possible.”
Lake Research Partners and the Tarrance Group designed and administered this pre-election and election night omnibus survey by phone between October 31 and November 3, 2020. “Caregiving” was defined in this survey as care for a child or children, care for an adult who is ill, older or disabled, or care for one’s self. Read the full memo here.