Holland Children’s Institute poll finds disconnect between voters and the Nebraska Legislature

By: - May 5, 2022 4:00 am
Nebraska State Capitol Building

The Nebraska State Capitol Building in Lincoln. (Rebecca S. Gratz for Nebraska Examiner)

LINCOLN — There’s a disconnect between voter opinions about tax breaks for the wealthy and actions by the Nebraska Legislature, according to a recent poll commissioned by the Omaha-based Holland Children’s Institute.

A March 16-21 survey of 620 registered Nebraska voters found majorities of respondents believe that state government has prioritized tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy over help for children and families.  

“It seems really clear that voters are deeply aware and concerned that the focus is way too much on tax breaks for corporations and for those who have the most,” said Hadley Richters, CEO of the Holland organization.

A series of polls

The nonprofit has commissioned a series of Nebraska Voters’ Outlook polls in partnership with Patinkin Research Strategies, a Washington State-based polling firm that has worked primarily with Democrat candidates and unions.

The poll comes after state lawmakers passed what was billed as the largest tax cut in history — gradual reductions in corporate income taxes, taxes on Social Security and state income taxes for families earning more than $60,000 a year.

The Holland poll found strong support for “fully funding K-12 education” (71%) and “ensuring Medicaid covers all uninsured, eligible Nebraska children” (70%), as well as increasing access to polling places and ballot drop boxes (74%). The poll indicated 69% of respondents opposed cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy.

Support for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour rose by 16 percentage points since July, to 60% in March, the poll indicated.

Mixed results on education

Results were mixed concerning education, with 51% support for tax credits for private school savings accounts, but 65% opposition to public funding of charter schools.

The polling was done via landline, cell phone, the internet and texts and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4%, according to John Carl Denkovich, the director of communications and program development for the Holland Institute.

He said that weighting and quotas were used to produce a “statistically representative universe of registered voters in Nebraska” and to avoid a bias in polling during the 2016 and 2020 elections that underrepresented conservative Republican and independent voters.

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Paul Hammel
Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska state government and the state for decades. Previously with the Omaha World-Herald, Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha Sun, he is a member of the Omaha Press Club's Hall of Fame. He grows hops, brews homemade beer, plays bass guitar and basically loves traveling and writing about the state. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation.