Christine Matthews, a pollster who polled voters on the issue of paid family leave, said that although most Republican voters want it enacted, Republican lawmakers know they won’t be punished for voting against. âIt’s not that Republican voters don’t support him. It’s that politicians know they are not voting on this particular issue, âshe said.
Neither Democratic nor Republican voters seem to view paid time off as a top legislative priority. A 2017 Pew Research poll showed that only 35 percent of Americans reported paid time off as a top priority for President Donald Trump and Congress. A bench 2021 survey of legislative priorities did not list paid time off, with most Americans citing the economy and Covid as their biggest concerns. And according to an October CBS News / YouGov poll, only 36% of Americans think the Build Back Better plan would help them and their families (with 33% saying it would hurt them and 31% saying it would have no effect).
The 2017 Pew poll found that paid vacation provided by companies rather that the government was viewed more favorably. I fear, however, that if we leave it to the private sector, this will never happen for the majority of parents, especially working class parents.
If we’re going to get large numbers of American voters to support more government-funded paid time off, we need more fathers – and men in general – to talk about it. Abby McCloskey, who served as policy director for Republican and Independent candidates, pointed out that while she is not an apologist for Trump, she believes her public support for family leave has helped senior Republicans become more “willing. and open âto that. After all, around two million federal workers now have 12 weeks of paid family leave because of a policy of the Trump era.
Matthews believes we can increase the importance of paid time off for men and for more conservative voters by elevating new narratives. A lot of people ignore these stories of new moms (which is why I’m so pissed off right now), but if we’re going to know how to get support for this issue, we should start telling stories like the ones Matthews heard from. the men when she was leading focus groups.
âThey talk about having very rigid jobs, where they don’t have free time to support their wives who have had a baby or a serious illness or problem,â she said. Because they live far from medical services or additional help, they feel the lack of paid time off with particular acuteness.
This does not mean that women should stop telling their stories. I will continue to tell mine. We should go on forever because these stories are worthy on their own terms. But as a political motivation, perhaps we need a different tactic.