Fact Tank

Nebraska Voters’ Outlook: Consensus for Middle Class Investments

“Nebraska Voters’ Outlook” is a public opinion research initiative of the Holland Children’s Institute. We are sharing findings from a statewide public opinion survey commissioned late this summer. The third release in the Nebraska Voters’ Outlook series reveals 72% of Nebraska voters believe the state is spending too little on job training programs.

“Republicans, Democrats, and Independents in Nebraska agree a wide range of economic policies will support and grow the middle class like paid family leave, career and vocational education, and affordable tuition in higher education,” said Hadley Richters, CEO of Holland Children’s Institute. “And they want to see more investments in those policies, instead of more corporate tax breaks.”

Richters said, “Notably, majorities in Nebraska agree that the state spends too little on job training programs, K-12 education, and early childhood care and education.”

Nebraska Voters’ Outlook: Views on Supporting and Growing the Middle Class

When asked whether Nebraska families had enough access to the tools and services they needed to attain a middle-class lifestyle, responses were sharply divided along partisan and gender lines. There is a consensus opinion (69 percent agree more) that the best way to support Nebraska’s middle class is to focus more on investments in small business, working families, and children as compared to 27 percent who would prefer to see the state focus on cutting taxes and regulations on large businesses.

When asked which policies will support and grow the middle class and workforce in Nebraska, respondents were particularly supportive of creating more accessible career and vocational educational programs (88 percent agree- 9 percent disagree), ensuring tuition is affordable at state colleges and universities (85 percent agree – 12 disagree), and expanding access to affordable, quality childcare (83 percent agree – 14 percent disagree).

Voters believe that the state is underinvesting in job skills and training programs (72 percent too little), K-12 public education (51 percent), expanding the workforce (54 percent), and early childhood care and education (51 percent).

Survey Methodology: TargetSmart designed and administered this telephone survey conducted by professional interviewers. The survey reached 600 adults, age 18 or older, who indicated they were registered to vote in Nebraska. The survey was conducted from July 25-29, 2018. The sample was randomly selected from TargetSmart’s enhanced voter file. The data were weighted by gender, age, party registration, and region by congressional district to ensure an accurate reflection of the population. The overall margin of error is ±4.0%. The margin of error for subgroups is larger and varies. Percentage totals may not add up precisely due to rounding. Read More.

Nebraska Voters’ Outlook: Taxes, Spending, and the State Budget

“Nebraska Voters’ Outlook” is a public opinion research initiative of the Holland Children’s Institute. We are sharing findings from a statewide public opinion survey commissioned late this summer. The second release in the Nebraska Voters’ Outlook series reveals nearly 6 in 10 Nebraskans favor increasing revenue through some tax increases over cutting spending.

“These results build upon an undertone found in results of our research last fall, ‘Middle class families in Nebraska are being left behind.’ That sentiment also exists when it comes to Nebraska’s state budget,” said Hadley Richters, CEO of Holland Children’s Institute.

“Surprisingly, across the state voters point to a path for balancing the budget by increasing some taxes to raise revenue, rather than making cuts to spending for services,” said Richters. “We also see an overwhelming consensus in favor of more investment for a wide range of programs and services to support and grow the middle class, over tax breaks for corporations and large businesses.”

“Simultaneously, across the board voters agree – large corporations and the wealthy are not doing their part, paying less than their fair share in taxes,” said Richters, “while the middle class and average Nebraska families are paying their fair share or more.”

On approaches to balancing the state budget, nearly six-in-ten voters said they would prefer the state raise additional revenue through some tax increases (58 percent) rather than avoid any tax increases and make cuts to spending for programs instead (25 percent).

Additionally, the data reveals a wide consensus among Nebraskans for more state investment in core services and policy priorities, over tax breaks for corporations and large businesses. Strong majorities opted in favor investing more in services over providing corporate tax breaks:

  • Early childhood care and education (71 percent);
  • Job re-training services (69 percent);
  • Children’s healthcare (76 percent);
  • Higher education (58 percent);
  • Employment benefits (60 percent);
  • Roads and infrastructure (74 percent);
  • K-12 public education (75 percent),
  • Medicaid (65 percent); and
  • Mental health and addiction services (80 percent).

Nearly seven-in-ten Republicans (61 percent) favor increased state investment in early childhood care and education.

About the methodology:
TargetSmart designed and administered this telephone survey conducted by professional interviewers. The survey reached 600 adults, age 18 or older, who indicated they were registered to vote in Nebraska. The survey was conducted from July 25-29, 2018. The sample was randomly selected from TargetSmart’s enhanced voter file. The data were weighted by gender, age, party registration, and region by congressional district to ensure an accurate reflection of the population. The overall margin of error is ±4.0%. The margin of error for subgroups is larger and varies. Percentage totals may not add up precisely due to rounding. 

Find Methodology Here.

Nebraska Voters’ Outlook: Perceptions on Influence in State Government

“Nebraska Voters’ Outlook” is a public opinion research initiative of the Holland Children’s Institute. We are sharing findings from a statewide public opinion survey commissioned late this summer. The first release in the Nebraska Voters’ Outlook series reveal Nebraskans have cynical views on who and what is influencing decisions in state government.

When asking voters to volunteer answers on what most influences decision making in state government, 70% of respondents offered a cynical answer like money, special interests, personal agendas or partisanship.

There is a stark difference between what groups Nebraska voters indicate they feel have been helped by state economic policies. Those surveyed indicate they believe state economic policies have helped the following groups a lot or fair amount by these margins: big corporations (58 percent), wealthy Nebraskans (56 percent), blue collar workers (26 percent), Nebraska’s middle class (25 percent), average Nebraska families (24 percent), families living in poverty (23 percent), and you and your family (23 percent). Overall, regardless of party, gender, or education more Nebraskans (54 percent) think cuts to state services will harm their families and instead, benefit big business and the wealthy.

From Our CEO, Hadley Richters:

“The first release of results show Nebraskans don’t believe they have influencing power in state government. They believe state government is working mostly to help large corporations and the wealthiest in Nebraska. We believe it’s important this research on public opinion in Nebraska is made available and accessible, especially to those making decisions on the issues impacting the lives of children and working families.”

 

About the methodology:
TargetSmart designed and administered this telephone survey conducted by professional interviewers. The survey reached 600 adults, age 18 or older, who indicated they were registered to vote in Nebraska. The survey was conducted from July 25-29, 2018. The sample was randomly selected from TargetSmart’s enhanced voter file. The data were weighted by gender, age, party registration, and region by congressional district to ensure an accurate reflection of the population. The overall margin of error is ±4.0%. The margin of error for subgroups is larger and varies. Percentage totals may not add up precisely due to rounding.

 

Find Methodology Here.

Nebraska Values Project – Installment IV

The Nebraska Values Project is a public opinion research initiative of the Holland children’s Institute. In partnership with Myers Research & Strategic Services, a live telephone survey was conducted in early November 2017 to measure public opinion among Nebraska voters on public policy issues and demographic research affecting children and working families across Nebraska.

Nebraskans overwhelmingly support more attention from the state toward building the middle class through investing in healthcare and education at every level, and providing better opportunities for good paying jobs, retirement and benefits.  A broad agreement exists among Nebraska voters – state elected officials should give families the tools they need to succeed, instead of eliminating community programs and further cuts to spending. Across the board – Nebraskans believe state government’s priorities are not aligned with those of voters, and the majority say our elected officials are not looking out for average families in Nebraska, and are focused only on helping corporations and the wealthy.

What Nebraskans believe the state’s priorities should be:

Highlights from Installment IV:

  • Nebraskans placed the highest level of importance on career and vocational training expressing near unanimity (96%) who believe it should be a focus of investment in the state budget and a large majority (67%) saying it should be of major or largest focus.
  • Nebraskans believe that providing incentives to businesses to create quality jobs with benefits, are key components to building a stronger middle class (78%). Paid family leave (71%) and paid sick leave (77%) were also strongly supported.
  • A vast majority of Nebraskans believe expanding after school and voluntary pre-kindergarten will help build a stronger middle class (71%), and free community college classes (69%), and it should be noted that a majority of conservatives favor free community college (60%), and providing parents with state tax credits for early childhood programs (62%).
  • Access to affordable child care is incredibly popular across the board. Among those with children under age 18 at home, nearly all favor expanding access to affordable child care (93%), and of those without children at home are also in favor (69%).
  • Almost unanimously Nebraskans believe the state should be focusing on providing health care services for children (91%), support Medicaid (88%) and providing mental health care (94%).

The margin of error associated with these data at a 95 percent confidence level is +/-4.0 percent. 

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Nebraska Values Project – Installment III

The Nebraska Values Project is a public opinion research initiative of the Holland children’s Institute. In partnership with Myers Research & Strategic Services, a live telephone survey was conducted in early November 2017 to measure public opinion among Nebraska voters on public policy issues and demographic research affecting children and working families across Nebraska.

The third release of our public opinion research reveals how Nebraskans feel about the legislature and the Governor. There is a clear disconnect between the economic realities of Nebraska families and where they feel their government is focused. Nebraskans believe the Governor and the legislature have been focused on cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy or doing little to help average families while at the same time a near majority report that they do not have enough savings to cover their bills for at least six months in the case of emergency.

The Disconnect Between State Government and Average Nebraskans

Highlights from Installment III:

  • Across the partisan spectrum, Nebraskans believe state government has been focused on tax cuts and helping big corportations (63%) and the wealthy (64%), while many of them continue to struggle.
  • Similarly, many say that the Governor and legislature are not focused on any issue or do not know which issues on which they have been focused.
  • 56% say state government only does just some, very little or nothing at all to help their own families.
  • When asked if they had enough money saved to cover bills for six months in case of an emergency, 48% said they do not.
  • The only respondents who reported that they have enough savings for at least six months are those over age 50 with a college degree and those without small children.
  • 21% of Nebraskans indicate that they have had trouble affording health care in the past few years, and 14% of voters say that they or someone in their household has actually had to go without medical care when they needed it.

The margin of error associated with these data at a 95 percent confidence level is +/-4.0 percent. 

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Shareable graphics are available on our Twitter page @HCInstitute or upon request: rachel@childrensmovement.com

Nebraska Values Project – Installment II

The Nebraska Values Project is a public opinion research initiative of the Holland children’s Institute. In partnership with Myers Research & Strategic Services, a live telephone survey was conducted in early November 2017 to measure public opinion among Nebraska voters on public policy issues and demographic research affecting children and working families across Nebraska.

Our polling reveals Nebraska voters believe government economic policies are leaving the middle class behind. Voters in Nebraska believe the best way to build our middle class is to ensure people willing to work hard are given the opportunity and the tools they need. Importantly, there is a clear line of support for creating an opportunity for skills training and jobs with good benefits to strengthen the middle class, versus focusing on spending cuts and changes to public benefits.

Economic Opportunity and The Middle Class

Highlights from Installment II:

  • For Nebraskans, home ownership, a secure job, and access to health care are viewed as defining elements of “middle class”.
  • One-fifth of Nebraskans have had trouble affording health care and nearly as many could not take leave for a relative’s illness.
  • In Nebraska, 9 in 10 blue-collar voters (87%) say government’s policies are helping big corporations while 62% of college-educated voters say the same.
  • Nebraskans believe that government’s economic policies are focused on helping big corporations, the wealthy, and foreign companies more than small businesses, blue collar workers, and average families.
  • 3 in 10 voters say that government’s economic policies have helped them and their family a little or not at all in the last year.
  • Among Nebraska voters, there is broad and deep agreement that the best way to build a stronger middle class is to give people the tools they need (64%) compared to cutting spending on programs in order to reduce dependence on government (25%)
  • Two-thirds of Nebraska voters agree incentivizing businesses to create quality jobs with good wages and benefits will help strengthen the middle class (65%) in comparison to the statement that it will hurt businesses and become too costly (17%)

The margin of error associated with these data at a 95 percent confidence level is +/-4.0 percent. 

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Shareable graphics are also available on our Twitter page @HCInstitute or upon request: rachel@childrensmovement.com

Nebraska Values Project – Installment I

The Nebraska Values Project is a public opinion research initiative of the Holland Children’s Institute. In partnership with Myers Research & Strategic Services, a live telephone survey was conducted in early November 2017 to measure public opinion among Nebraska voters on public policy issues and demographic research affecting children and working families across Nebraska.

“The first public results of our Nebraska Values Project indicate that Nebraskans across the ideological spectrum support greater investments in education and healthcare,” said Andy Holland, President of the Holland Children’s Institute. “Notably, Nebraskans associate building a stronger middle class with specific ideas and proposals like paid family leave and affordable childcare.”

Read MoreNebraska Values Project – Installment I

Expanding Pre-K

In the 2014-15 school year, 84% of Nebraska school districts offered a state early childhood education program, but only 28% of all school district preschool programs were operating as full-day programs. The lack of access to full-day high-quality prekindergarten in Nebraska leaves too many young children missing out on educational benefits that can close in on the academic achievement gap. Our issue brief explores the expansion of voluntary full-day pre-K programs for 3 and 4-year-olds with new funding supporting programs that meet the quality standards of the Nebraska Department of Education Rule 11.

Read MoreExpanding Pre-K

Teen Pregnancy

The Holland Children’s Institute released Future Unknown: The Outlook of Teen Pregnancy in Nebraska.  This report was commissioned from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health to investigate and evaluate the social and economic costs and consequences of teen pregnancy in Nebraska. The findings and recommendations provided in this report are intended to inform efforts to reduce the number of Nebraskans who experience inter-generational poverty.

Click here to view the full report.

Future Unknown: The Outlook of Teen Pregnancy in Nebraska

Click here to view the full UNMC report.