Recent public polling by Data for Progress, Morning Consult, and Democracy Corps shows that candidates stand to gain when they make an affirmative case that they are fighting for families by working to extend the expanded Child Tax Credit, and when they attack their opponent for opposing CTC expansions. Conversely, candidates remaining silent or allowing the impression that they let the Child Tax Credit expire is damaging their support.

Executive Summary

Executive Summary

While support for the CTC has been consistently strong, hovering around 60%, it has been extremely popular with parents: +40 net support among all parents and +56 among CTC recipients. These monthly checks are one of the most tangible impacts of Congress’ policies over the first year of the Biden administration, and after receiving a check, recipients reported higher subjective economic well-being and more optimism about the future. As checks ended, parents’ economic outlook became more gloomy and they blamed the elected officials who voted for the checks. 

Data for Progress finds the difference between a candidate’s message on fighting for the CTC and a narrative that an incumbent is to blame for CTC expiration is a swing of 14 points among likely voters, 18 points among Latinos, and a stunning 39-point flip among parents on who they trust to support families, with members of Congress who voted for the CTC losing entirely their advantage on family economic security among parents.

A new Morning Consult survey shows the same dynamic observed in the Data for Progress experiment playing out in the real world: most congressional representatives are relatively quiet about the CTC now, and as the checks have run out those who voted for the Child Tax Credit have lost support—a 15-point Republican shift among parents getting the CTC despite no shift among all registered voters over the same period. 

This shift is the opposite of the shift we saw when monthly CTC checks began, when receiving the CTC increased favorability by four points for congressional representatives who passed the law, and that effect held even with Trump-voting parents. When checks ended, parents became less likely to support the incumbent, Pres. Biden.

These surveys show voters are focused on the CTC and candidates must be vocal about fighting to extend their larger CTC so it is a winner for them. Silence on this issue is not simply neutral, it is actively hurting their standing with likely voters, especially parents. Yet, Democracy Corps found an attack on elected officials for opposing the CTC expansion to be among the strongest attacks tested, and the very strongest attack for winning over key constituencies like Blacks, Millennials, white unmarried women, and working class voters under 50, as well as parents. This reinforces the effectiveness of congressional candidates going on offense on this issue as they work to extend the credit.

Data for Progress

Poll: Fighting for the Expanded CTC Grows Candidate Advantage on Family Issues

Data for Progress finds that likely voters trust a candidate more to support families with children when told how that candidate is fighting to extend the CTC, yet trust in that candidate decreases when told the candidate let the expanded, monthly payments expire:

  • CTC-Supportive Elected Officials Enjoy Baseline Advantage on Family Issues: They enjoy a 9-point advantage on supporting families with children (50% trust them, 41% don’t).
  • When Told CTC-Supportive Officials Are Fighting to Continue CTC, Advantage Grows: Among the sample of voters that were told that “Democrats are moving to continue the expanded CTC in 2022,” topline trust in the Democratic Party increases by 5 points on net. On net, trust in the Democratic Party increases among Democrats, Independents, and Republicans by 4 points, 3 points, and 7 points, respectively, compared to their baselines.
  • When Told A Candidate Let CTC Expire, Advantage Evaporates: Among voters told “Democrats allowed the expanded CTC to expire,” the Democratic Party’s trust advantage fell by 9 points. This completely wipes away the Democratic Party’s trust advantage on the issue of supporting parents with children. After this treatment is applied, 45% of likely voters trust the Democratic Party and 45% trust the Republicans.
  • Swings in Perception of Candidates More Pronounced Among Parents, Creating Opportunity for Republicans: Among parents of children younger than 18, knowing that a candidate allowed the expanded CTC to expire decreases trust for them by 18 points on net, compared against the baseline. This change is so large that trust on the issue of supporting parents with children actually flips from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. However, when parents know that a candidate is working to extend the program, trust increases 21 points, on net, relative to the baseline.
  • Latinx Voters Grow Republican Support by 15 Points When Told Democrats Let CTC Expire: Latinx voters begin with +42 net trust in Democrats on supporting parents with children. Hearing that Democrats let the CTC expire lowers their support by 15 points (net +27 trust of Democrats), while hearing Democrats are fighting to extend the CTC boosts support to +45, a net swing of 18 points.
Morning Consult

Poll: Progressives & Moderates Losing Support Among CTC Recipients

A new April survey by Morning Consult found that support for progressives and moderates is eroding more quickly among former recipients of monthly CTC checks. In December, CTC recipients favored Democrats on the congressional generic ballot by a 12-point margin (49 percent to 37 percent), but that has shifted by a 15-point margin to a Republican advantage (46 percent to 43 percent). Among all registered voters, there was no comparable change between December and March. An earlier Morning Consult survey in February also noted other metrics deteriorating quickly among CTC recipients:

Biden’s approval rating has recently been on the decline among all voters, but it has been more dramatic among child tax credit recipients. The survey found 43 percent of those recipients approved of Biden’s job performance, down 13 points since the December poll, while the share who disapprove increased 15 points, to 56 percent. The share of recipients who “strongly” approve of his job performance halved, from 35 percent to 17 percent. The share of child tax credit recipients with unfavorable views of Democrats in Congress increased from 35 percent to 50 percent since late December, while the share who view congressional Republicans unfavorably increased from 41 percent to 51 percent. The majority of expanded child tax credit recipients (57 percent) disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy, up 14 points since December, compared with a 2-point increase among the overall electorate, to 55 percent.

Democracy Corps

Poll: Attack on Conservatives for Opposing CTC Expansion is Among Top Messages

Democracy Corps research finds that attacking conservatives for opposing the expanded Child Tax Credit was among candidates’ strongest attacks, and was the top attack with many key demographics. The message tested was, “Every Republican in Congress voted against the expanded Child Tax Credit that is giving monthly checks to working families with kids and has been a lifeline for so many working families – helping them put food on the table, pay for child care & more. They will repeal it and put 4 million kids back into poverty.”

“The Child Tax Credit received on a monthly basis is changing the 2022 political dynamics and will now be central to the campaign contrast. It is embraced by both Black voters and white working-class voters under 50 years, as well as white parents, and they become more supportive when it is attacked. The CTC has opened up parts of the white working class to the idea Democrats use government to help them. Whether its repeal raises your taxes or drives millions of kids into poverty have become the top attacks on Republicans.” — Pollster Stan Greenberg