A new survey of New Hampshire likely voters reveals bipartisan support for a policy that guarantees access to paid leave, including family, parental, and medical leave, for all U.S. workers. With midterm elections approaching, voters also say they would be more likely to support candidates who advocate for a federal paid leave policy.
By a margin of 71 to 24 percent, New Hampshire voters favor a policy that guarantees access to paid leave for all workers. This includes 40 percent who support the policy strongly, compared to only 9 percent who strongly oppose it. The policy receives support from large majorities of Democrats (93 percent) and independents/unaffiliated (73 percent), with a plurality of Republicans also supporting the policy by a 48 to 43 percent margin.
Support for a policy guaranteeing access to paid leave is even higher among women, with 77 percent supporting it, compared to 64 percent among men. Support is also strong among key voting blocs, including suburban (72 percent) and non-college women (73 percent).
Strong support among women coincides with the fact that working women in the state are currently less likely than working men to receive paid leave. While 38 percent of working men report receiving paid family leave, only 26 percent of women do. Similarly, 41 percent of men receive paid medical leave, compared to 27 percent of women. Working women are 9 points more likely than men to say they receive no leave, health insurance, or retirement plan from their employer.
Candidates that include guaranteed access to paid leave in their platforms would see higher support. Statewide, 49 percent say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate supporting federal paid leave, with only 15 percent saying it would make them less likely to vote for that candidate (34 percent say it would make no difference). More than half of voters (57 percent) say the issue is very or fairly important to them – on par with ensuring access to affordable childcare (59 percent) and increasing funding for public education (62 percent).
Strong majorities in every region of the state support guaranteed access to paid leave for all U.S. workers, including 76 percent in Keene/Upper Valley, 75 percent in the Seacoast, 69 percent in the “Triangle” region (including Manchester, Nashua, and Salem), and 68 percent in North Country.
In a balanced messaging exercise, voters say they are most convinced by messages in support of paid leave that focus on the positive impact on families who take care of elderly relatives, and on women, who have been less likely to get back to work since the pandemic and are more often the primary caretakers. More than 2 out of 3 in the state found both messages to be very or somewhat convincing, more than any other message we test in support or opposition to paid leave. Among suburban and non-college women, more than 70 percent see the messages as very or somewhat convincing.
Support for a federal policy for paid leave for all U.S. workers receives majority support even after voters learn more about New Hampshire’s Granite State Paid Family Leave Plan, set to begin in 2023. The plan provides paid leave for New Hampshire’s state government employees and some private sector workers who opt-in, while many hourly or low-income workers are unlikely to receive the benefit. Even after learning more about the state’s plan, 58 percent support a federal program, while 37 percent oppose it.
GQR conducted a representative statewide survey of 499 likely 2022 general election voters, from September 12 to 18, 2022. Respondents were contacted through the voter file. 42 percent were conducted by landline, and 58 percent by cell. The survey is subject to a +/-4.4 percentage point margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level.