What American Moms Want Most From Our Next President: Improve Education and Keep Our Kids Safe

Media Contacts: Wendy Christian // Save the Children // [email protected] // 203.465.8010 and Negin Janati // Save the Children // [email protected] // 203.212.0044

New National Poll from Save the Children and Shriver Media Shows American Moms Resilient and Optimistic but Deeply Concerned about Modern Climate in Which Raising Children

LOS ANGELES, (May 3, 2016) – Harried but hopeful, American moms are worried about a host of issues affecting their children this election year, including declining moral values, violence in schools, sexual predators and bullying. But nine out of ten moms report they are at least “somewhat” optimistic about their children’s future, and more than half say they are “very optimistic,” according to a new poll of mothers likely to vote in the fall presidential election.

The results of a non-partisan survey of more than 1,000 mothers released today by Save the Children and Shriver Media, entitled The Shriver Report Snapshot: Insight into the Resilient American Mother reveals the modern mother is optimistic in her own strength and resolve to raise independent and caring children, but challenged by the shortcomings of the institutions meant to support her.

The poll found more than half of these mothers are living paycheck to paycheck. Nearly two-thirds of working moms say they take on the majority of housekeeping and parenting responsibilities, and that the American business culture makes it “nearly impossible” to juggle work and family life. Overall, two-thirds of mothers believe that their children are less safe than they were as children, and most say it is harder to be a mother today than it was in their parent’s generation. In fact, a majority (53 percent) say America is becoming a worse place to raise children while only 15 percent believe it is getting better. Asked to cite the main reasons why it was more difficult to raise children today, more than half cited “increasing violence” followed by worsening economic conditions and declines in social norms and education.

Asked to identify the most important issue for the next president, mothers overwhelmingly cited improving education — including making college more affordable, ensuring a fair chance to succeed in school and increased access to high quality early childhood education. 83 percent of moms – including Republicans, Democrats and Independents – said they would likely support a political candidate who is in favor of expanding quality early childhood education. Cutting funds for education was ranked among mothers’ greatest worries concerning what the next president might do, second only to starting a war.

The findings come exactly six months before the presidential election, in which the gender gap in voting is likely to become a significant factor in the November general election. In 2012, nearly 10 million more women than men voted for president. The gap could widen even further this fall when more than 20 million mothers with children living at home – more than 1 in 4 of all likely women voters – are expected to vote for president, making mothers who vote a sizable but often overlooked segment of the electorate.

“As a mother of four and an advocate for women’s empowerment, I am thrilled to partner with Save the Children and the Save the Children Action Network to share this Snapshot on the modern American mom,” said Maria Shriver founder of Shriver Media and the Shriver Report Special Editions and Snapshots. “American mothers are resilient, tough and optimistic but political and business leaders – all of our institutions – need to adjust to the needs of the modern American family so that mothers and their children can not only survive but can thrive in today’s complex environment.”

“This Mother’s Day it’s important to not only celebrate moms, but also to really listen to what they need,” said Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children. “This poll tells us that women are feeling a lot of pressure, and are demanding more from their partners, workplaces, and elected leaders. It’s clear that if we want to see stronger families and communities, we need to support mothers because they are the backbone of society. We can’t underestimate the power of a mother.”

Full Snapshot Results Available Here

  • More than half of today’s mothers fear that America is becoming a worse place to raise children (53%) and that it is harder to parent today than it was for their parents (56%)
  • Two-thirds believe their children are less safe than they were as kids
  • More than half (55%) of American moms are living paycheck to paycheck
  • Nearly two-thirds (62%) of working moms believe American businesses are making it “nearly impossible” for them to juggle work and family demands; flexible work hours (53%), more affordable healthcare (51%) and good retirement benefits (49%) would help
  • An overwhelming number of American moms believe that education is the single most important issue for lawmakers to address and are much more likely (83%) to back a candidate who supports early childhood education
  • Millennial moms are most optimistic, most secure in society’s expectations of them and most frustrated by Corporate America
  • American moms think a mother would best represent their children in political office ; Hillary Clinton receives most support (28%) from moms polled
  • But nine in ten report being optimistic about their future, their children’s future and their own ability to raise independent and caring kids
  • American mothers are conflicted on whether technology and social media do more harm than good – 50% say its prevalence has had a positive effect on their children, while 50% say it has or will hurt their children.
  • Moms value independence above other qualities – especially for daughters – and one-third say “caring” is the most important quality for both sons and daughters in the most powerful nation in the world.

These findings are the result of a national survey commissioned by Save the Children, Save the Children Action Network and Shriver Media and conducted online by the national polling group, PSB, in March 2016. The poll surveyed more than 1,050 mothers, with children under 18 at home, who are likely to vote in the 2016 presidential election. The sample was demographically representative of ages, ethnicities and political affiliations, and margin of error for the total general population sample is ±2.47%.

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Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We invest in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Save the Children Action Network is the political voice for kids. We believe that every child deserves the best start in life. That’s why we’re building bipartisan will and voter support to make sure every child in the U.S. has access to high-quality early learning and that no mother or child around the globe dies from a preventable disease or illness. By investing in kids and holding leaders accountable, we are helping kids from birth to age five survive and thrive.

Shriver Media is a socially conscious media company that produces films, documentaries, original digital reporting and live events to inform, inspire, enlighten and entertain. Our team collaborates with like-minded partners and offers diverse media brands that we believe can impact individuals and society in a positive way. We ignite hearts and minds.

PSB (formerly Penn Schoen Berland) conducted the survey March 7 – 15, 2016. PSB conducted 1,053 online interviews with American mothers on their opinions on The 2016 Presidential Election and Expectations for their own and their Children’s Future.