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Nebraska Voters’ Outlook: Public Opinion on Policy Issues and Funding Priorities for the Nebraska Legislature

Nebraska Voters’ Outlook is commissioned by and conducted in partnership with Patinkin Research Strategies, LLC February 1-5, 2023, among approximately 600 registered voters across the state. Total results are available here. View the research memo here. View the press release here.

Majority of Nebraskans Indicate that the State is Not Doing Enough for Working Families

Our latest public opinion research indicates that a majority of Nebraskans believe the state government is not doing enough to help working families get ahead (58%). When asked open-endly what they would like the state to focus on regarding tax reform (47%), a combination of voters would like to see property tax be lowered and the tax burden reduced for the middle class while the wealthy/big corporations pay their fair share.

Nebraskans believe it is either a “serious problem” or a “problem” that taxes favor the wealthy/big corporations over middle class families (68%) and two-thirds are concerned about the impact that a failure to invest in K-12 education is having on property taxes (68%). as noted in Figure 1 below.

“Nebraskans are right to be concerned about the state government’s failure to invest and focus on the real needs of the people,” states Holland Children’s Institute CEO, Hadley Richters. “Many are still recovering from the effects of the pandemic while trying to keep up with the astronomical height of inflation. Elected officials and government must put Nebraskans as top priority and these results should serve as a guide in addressing the most pressing issues communities are facing.”

Public Opinion on Policy Issues

Clear and broad consensus exists regarding funding priorities for the Nebraska Legislature. Voters are eager to see the state increase investments in special education (75% “net favor”) and oppose state mandates capping local school spending decisions (53% “oppose”). See Figure 2 below. This confirms findings from an October 2022 survey where voters preferred addressing high property taxes through state funding of local programs and services (46%) rather than by providing income tax rebates to offset property taxes (41%). 

Funding Priorities for the Nebraska Legislature

When asked if voters would support a law that bans abortions after six weeks, before most women even know they are pregnant, a majority responded in opposition to a six-week abortion ban (55%). The intensity of feeling is high, with 46% “strongly opposed” to this policy. Furthermore, only 11% of Nebraskans say they believe abortion ought to be “illegal in all cases.”

“Voters want to see the Nebraska Unicameral highly prioritize funding for increased access to medical care and early childhood education, and strongly oppose public subsidy of religious and charter schools. Yet, state lawmakers continue to focus legislative efforts and budget proposals that undermine the public’s priorities and restrict access to high-quality health care, including reproductive care,” says Richters.

Lawmakers must consider these results to better align legislative action with public policy priorities and deliver better outcomes for the people of Nebraska. See Figure 3 below.


The survey reached n=600 registered voters, age 18 or older in Nebraska.  The survey was conducted February 1-5, 2023, via live phones with trained operators and online via a link from a direct SMS.

The sample was randomly selected from TargetSmart’s enhanced voter file. 67% of respondents were reached on telephones (69% weighted).  63% of respondents who took the survey via phone were reached on a wireless phone (63% weighted).  33% of respondents were reached via SMS and took the survey online (31% weighted).

Quotas were assigned to reflect the demographic distribution of registered voters in Nebraska.  The data were weighted by gender, age, party registration, TargetSmart Partisan Scores, 2020 Presidential Vote, educational attainment, and county of residence. 

Percentage totals may not add up precisely due to rounding.  The credibility interval (the theoretical margin of error for a blended methodology poll that relies partially on telephone-based probability sampling and partially on non-probability based online panel sampling is +/-4.0%.