Most rural Nebraskans support continued or even increased spending for almost all of the services listed. Only one category listed, unemployment compensation, had a majority of rural Nebraskans say they would like to see less spending for it. Just over one-half (51%) of rural Nebraskans favor less spending for unemployment compensation. For three categories of public services, a greater percentage of rural Nebraskans would like to see more spending than less: roads and bridges, public safety and education (primary/secondary/higher). For all of the other categories listed, most rural Nebraskans favor no change in the level of spending.

For each category below, please indicate whether you would like to have: 1) less spending and potentially lower state and local taxes; 2) roughly the same spending and no change in state and local taxes; or, 3) more spending and potentially higher state and local taxes.

Younger persons are more likely than older persons to favor an increase in spending for education. Almost one-half of persons age 19 to 39 favor more spending for education, compared to 21 percent of persons age 65 and older.

Opinions on Level of Spending for Education by Age

Persons with occupations in agriculture are more likely than persons with different occupations to favor an increase in spending for roads and bridges. One-half (50%) of persons with agriculture occupations would like to see more spending for roads and bridges, compared to 30 percent of persons with health care support or public safety occupations.

Opinions on Level of Spending for Roads and Bridges by Occupation

Younger persons are more likely than older persons to prefer less spending for unemployment compensation. Approximately two-thirds (66%) of persons age 19 to 29 favor less spending for unemployment compensation, compared to 42 percent of persons age 65 and older.

Opinions about Level of Spending for Unemployment Compensation by Age

Survey Methods

This study is based on 2,317 responses from Nebraskans living in the 84 non-metropolitan counties in the state.[1] A self-administered questionnaire was mailed in March and April to 6,320 randomly selected households. Metropolitan counties not included in the sample were Cass, Dakota, Dixon, Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy, Saunders, Seward and Washington.

A 37% response rate was achieved using the total design method (Dillman, 1978).

Since younger residents have typically been under-represented by survey respondents and older residents have been over-represented, weights were used to adjust the sample to match the age distribution in the nonmetropolitan counties in Nebraska (using U.S. Census figures from 2010).

The margin of error for this study is plus or minus two percent.

[1] In the spring of 2013, the Grand Island area (Hall, Hamilton, Howard and Merrick Counties) was designated a metropolitan area. The mailing list for this survey was already purchased prior to this designation so those four counties were included in our sample and in the data presented here.

For more information about the Nebraska Rural Poll, click here

The complete report can be viewed here.