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New poll finds a majority of Maine voters want the federal government to do more to help people struggling with the impacts of COVID-19

By Oxfam

Maine voters on both sides of the political aisle support a bold COVID-19 relief package that includes investing $50b in child care and increases unemployment benefits

A new poll of Maine voters finds that a substantial majority of voters across all demographics support bold measures to boost family incomes and the economy in the next COVID-19 relief package. A full 66% say the federal government needs to do more to make the economic downturn less severe and help people financially, rather than that the steps taken so far have been enough. 80% think that boosting the economy and creating jobs is more important than preventing increases in the deficit.

The bipartisan poll, conducted by Hart Research and North Star Research on behalf of Oxfam America, surveyed 400 general election voters in Maine on a range of relief efforts currently under discussion in Congress. The poll finds that most Democrats, Republicans, and independents support investing in child care, and there is strong support for increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, boosting federal unemployment benefits, providing another round of stimulus checks, and mandating emergency paid sick leave.

The phone survey, conducted from February 16-18, found resounding support for stabilizing the child care industry that cut across party lines, with 80% of voters in favor of devoting $50 billion to help providers stay open, maintain payments to child care workers, and help parents afford child care so they can continue working. The data shows that an impressive 71% of Republicans, 72% of independents, and 96% of Democrats agree that investing in childcare will boost the economy.

“The child care industry has been decimated by the pandemic, and losing affordable child care has dealt a huge blow to women, families, and children,” said Mara Bolis, Associate Director of Women’s Economic Empowerment for Oxfam America. “It’s not only a key reason women are losing their jobs, it’s likely to be a major barrier to women re-entering the workforce. Voters in Maine rightly agree that stabilizing the child care industry could have a multiplying effect on our economic recovery. And it will support the wellbeing of families who are struggling right now.”

The poll found most Maine voters support a gradual increase in the federal minimum wage over the next five years, in order to reach $15 per hour by 2025. With 57% of voters’ approval to increase the federal minimum wage, across demographics, the support holds true with 64% of moderates, 54% of rural voters and 53% of independents. Maine voters of all ages support the minimum wage increase, with especially strong support among those age 60 and older (63% favor).

Some of the most significant data from the survey reveals support for measures to increase family incomes and stimulate the economy. Voters expressed support to increase federal unemployment benefits from $300 to $400 a week. In addition, 69% of Maine voters support stimulus checks of $1,400 per person to families earning less than $150,000. This measure garnered support across the political spectrum, with a majority of Trump voters (51%) joining 86% of Biden voters in favoring the proposal.

The Maine poll also found strong support for a $3,000 tax credit to families with children under 17, with support from 68% of voters, including 76% of parents. The measure received broad support politically, with 80% of Democrats, 70% of independents, and 55% of Republicans expressing support.

“Hard working families are struggling to put food on their tables, pay the bills and find safe affordable care for their children,” said Gina Cummings Vice President of Alliances, Advocacy, and Policy for Oxfam America. “As this poll indicates, regardless of party affiliation, age, gender or race, voters believe that Americans need help right now, and the federal government must step in with a bold plan to help this country recover and rebuild.”

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