President Obama has proposed expanding government preschool programs, however according to the latest Reason-Rupe poll, only 37 percent of Americans favor raising taxes to create a universal preschool system, while 61 percent oppose. When asked who should be “primarily responsible” for paying for preschool, 57 percent of Americans think parents should pay and 32 percent want the government to be responsible for paying.

Not surprisingly Republicans overwhelmingly (80 percent) oppose a proposal to raise taxes to create universal preschool, 60 percent of Independents agree, and Democrats are evenly divided at roughly 48 percent. Similar shares of each political group hold parents primarily responsible for providing preschool for their children.

Underlying assumptions about who should be primarily responsible for preschool predicts support for the proposal to raise taxes to establish universal preschool. Seventy-eight percent of Americans who think parents should be primarily responsible for preschool oppose the government-run universal preschool proposal. In contrast, 65 percent of those who say government should be primarily responsible support the universal preschool proposal.

While most Americans say parents should be primarily responsible for paying for preschool, a majority of liberals, college-aged Americans, and a plurality of non-white women, and unmarried women say government should be primarily responsible. Similarly, a majority of these groups, and partisan Democrats, favors the proposal to raise taxes to fund universal pre-school.

Nationwide telephone poll conducted May 9-13 2013 interviewed 1003 adults on both mobile (503) and landline (500) phones, with a margin of error +/- 3.7%. Princeton Survey Research Associates International executed the nationwide Reason-Rupe survey. Columns may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full poll results found here. Full methodology can be found here. Demographics and detailed tables are available here.