Baby Bonds Proposal Gets Mixed Reviews, Most Have Never Heard of It

Most voters (51%) have never heard of a proposal by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) to create Opportunity Accounts for every child born in the United States. A ScottRasmussen.com national survey found that just 19% of voters are following news of the proposal even Somewhat Closely. Over the past ten or fifteen years, a number of so-called Baby Bond proposals have been discussed in think tanks and among some Democratic officials.

The plan calls for the government to give every child $1,000 at birth and then add up to $2,000 a year until the child turns 18. Children of low-income families would receive larger deposits. After turning 18, the child could draw on the account only for education, home ownership, or retirement.

Upon hearing that description of the program, 56% of voters said they at least somewhat favored the plan. However, as additional details were provided, between 48% and 59% said each of three facts about the plan made them less supportive of it. When asked again if they supported Opportunity Accounts, the number with a favorable opinion slipped to 41%.

The three facts about the program presented to respondents were:

  • With interest, a child whose family remains in the lowest income bracket every year would accrue $46,215 by her 18th birthday. A child in the highest income bracket would end up with $1,681
  • The average black child will accrue $29,038 in their account. The average Latino child will accrue $27,337. The average white child will accrue $15,790.
  • The program would cost the federal government tens of billions of dollars every year

The first point made 30% more supportive of the plan and 48% less supportive. The racial distribution made 25% more supportive and 56% less supportive. The cost of the program did the most to increase opposition–making just 18% more supportive and 59% less so.

These facts come from Booker’s office and supporters of the plan. While not specified in the question, Booker’s team estimates the program would cost about $60 billion a year. It is likely opponents of the plan would raise additional concerns and present other cost estimates. Booker has plans to raise the funds by raising taxes on capital gains and on the estates wealthy families pass on to their children. That, too, would likely become part of the debate.

On the second ask of the question, 58% of Democrats remain supportive of the Opportunity Accounts. However, they are opposed by 69% of Republicans and 70% of Independent voters. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of white voters are opposed but 71% of black voters and 62% of Hispanic voters are supportive. Most under 35 (62%) like the idea but 81% of senior citizens are opposed (see crosstab results).

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The national survey of 1,000 Registered Voters was conducted April 5-6, 2019 by ScottRasmussen.com and HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology). It has a 3.1 percentage point Margin of Error with a 95% level of confidence.

Neither Scott Rasmussen nor ScottRasmussen.com has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).

Posted in Poll Results

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