Senate

West Virginia voters overwhelmingly back paid leave proposal: poll

The vast majority of West Virginia voters support guaranteeing paid family and medical leave to U.S. workers, according to a new poll first shared with The Hill.

The poll, commissioned by Paid Leave for All, found that 80 percent of West Virginia voters support ensuring paid leave for workers suffering from a serious illness, 75 percent back paid leave for workers caring for a sick family member and 72 percent support paid leave for workers caring for a new child. 

The advocacy group released the survey as it pushed Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to support the paid leave plan included in Democrats' $2 trillion climate and social spending bill that passed the House earlier this month. Manchin has said that he doesn't want to pass a paid leave measure through the budget reconciliation process, potentially derailing the proposal.

"I don't think it belongs in the bill," Manchin said in an interview with CNN earlier this month. "We can do that in a bipartisan way. We can make sure it's lasting."

Democrats' plan would guarantee U.S. workers four weeks of paid leave to raise a new child, recover from a serious illness or care for a sick family member. The U.S. is the only developed nation that does not currently guarantee paid family leave.

The poll found that paid leave is more popular among West Virginia voters than other proposals included in the reconciliation package, such as universal pre-K, which is backed by 54 percent of those surveyed. The paid leave program and the measure to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices were the only Democratic proposals to earn majority support from voters in the state from every political party. 

"Paid leave is an issue that unites us, in a moment when families across America want to believe in the power of government to help their lives, when families and women and caregivers in particular, are still at breaking points," said Dawn Huckelbridge, director of Paid Leave for All. 

National polls have also shown strong support for paid leave. An October CBS News poll found that 73 percent of Americans back a federal paid leave program. 

The Paid Leave for All poll was conducted online and over the phone by Democratic firm Global Strategy Group among 500 registered voters between Nov. 8 and 11. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. 

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