The Partnership hosted an initial webinar and discussion drawing on national polling and opinion framing research and on the knowledge of state advocacy leaders with longstanding experience working with state governments controlled by Republicans.

View the slides from the December 19 presentation here.

More on this topic The Public and Child Policy: Better Describing the Concerns of Voters and the Disconnect with How They Vote This piece by the Child and Family Policy Center summarizes some of the consistent and key points identified in past polling and suggests areas of interest for future polling.

The 2014 elections changed the partisan composition of many state governments. The number of state legislative chambers and Governors’ offices controlled by Republicans increased. Two additional states—Arkansas and Nevada—saw both chambers of their legislatures and their Governor’s office shift to one-party control. West Virginia’s Democratic Governor was not up for election in 2014, but both legislative chambers shifted from Democratic to Republican. Colorado, Nevada and Maine saw their Senates shift from blue to red, as did West Virginia. Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Minnesota, in addition to West Virginia, had their Houses shift control to the Republican Party. Illinois, Maryland and Arkansas had their Governor change from Democratic to Republican, while Pennsylvania saw a shift from Republican to Democrat, and Alaska from Republican to Independent. Ruling Republican coalitions in the New York and Washington Senates came under outright Republican control.

These changes have implications for effective child advocacy and messaging—potentially including areas of child policy focus, the messaging on child policy interests, and cultivating and working with key legislative leadership who promote and serve as gatekeepers on child policy. While Partnership members are nonpartisan and their child advocacy is based on values and beliefs in the role of government in supporting children’s health, safety, security, education and equity of opportunity, members also need to frame and contour their advocacy to fit with the political culture in their state.

Despite the change in control of many state governing bodies, both parties care about children and their future—and the 2014 elections were not decided in terms of how candidates and parties proposed to take action on children’s issues (these were missing in most of the electoral debate). Questions Partnership members are seeking to answer, in light of partisan shifts and the continued need for forceful child advocacy, include:

  • How can child advocates, particularly those in states that have seen shifts in partisan power, best respond to such changes and develop and promote child policy in the current governing climate?
  • What insights do polls, focus groups and other information gathering regarding messaging and framing provide on how to promote child policies (in health, safety, education, economic security and equity) in the new climate?
  • What changes in messengers, organizational make-up, and coalition-building work may be needed to build additional relationships and allies in promoting child policy?

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