New findings out of the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy suggest the overwhelming majority of New Jerseyans — on both sides of the political aisle — are in favor of the government stepping in to support the well-being of families.

Surveyed in late 2017 on five public policy options to help families, New Jersey adults showed majority support for all five — some of which have since become reality or law, or may be headed that way.

The majority of respondents favored all five policy options referenced in the survey.

Public Support for New Jersey Policy Options

  • Funding programs to help people care for sick or disabled family members (92%)
  • Requiring employers to pay at least five days of sick leave (86%)
  • Funding pre-K classes for all low-income school children (82%)
  • Increasing childcare support for families who can't afford it (76%)
  • Increasing paid family leave for most workers from 6 to 12 weeks (76%)

"For every one of these, at least 60 percent or so of Republicans support them," said Joel Cantor, director of the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy. "There's such a broad consensus in the state that it is the role of New Jersey government to help families in a variety of ways to achieve health and well-being."

At least 85 percent of Democrats gave the thumbs up for each policy.

In Gov. Phil Murphy's first budget, signed in July, a commitment of $83 million was made to New Jersey's youngest learners. Since then, Murphy's held two public events touting the distribution of preschool aid. Both rounds of funding were diverted toward districts with a certain level of poverty.

"The governor also put money in his budget for child care subsidies," Cantor said.

Ten months after New Jersey residents were surveyed, the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act took effect, allowing nearly every person employed in the state to earn up to 40 hours of compensated time off.

The state's paid family leave program could expand as well. Under a measure sitting on the Governor's desk, the eligibility period would double to 12 weeks, and the cap on pay would increase.

This is the second of three annual polls the Center is conducting on health and well-being in New Jersey.

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