(NN&V Staff) — The latest survey by the Retail Association of Nevada (RAN), conducted on their behalf by Moore Information, shows jobs (24%), education (23%) and the economy (21%) remain the top issues in the state, and Nevadans believe that those issues should be the top focus of state government. Most (72%) believe that the economy has improved since the worst of the economic downturn, but only 7% believe it has improved a great deal, while 11% believe it has gotten worst.
According to Mary Lau, president of RAN, “Nevadans are feeling more comfortable with the state’s economic recovery, though few are convinced that their own economic situation is better and they remain cautious about anything that could disrupt the state’s recovery.”
The most recent RAN poll was conducted September 27-29 among a representative sample of 500 likely voters in Nevada. Both landline and cell phone interviews were conducted using live interviewers. The potential sampling error is +/- 4% at the 95% confidence level.
On the positive side, more people believe that Nevada is heading in the right direction (48%) than on the wrong track (38%) and 57% believe that the worst is over for state’s economy and only 34% believe the worst is yet to come. On the other hand, a majority believe their own household’s financial situation has remained the same or gotten worse during the current economic recovery (61%) and only 37% have seen improvement in their household’s financial situation. Further, when respondents are asked about their individual financial situation compared to one year ago, just 22% say they are better off, while 58% say things are about the same and 20% say they are worse off financially compared to a year ago.
Nevadans are also not very optimistic about job growth in the state, with 43% believing that the unemployment rate will remain the same over the next year while 25% believe it will increase and 28% believe it will decrease. The percentage of people who believe Nevada’s unemployment rate will remain the same or increase has remained fairly constant since 2011, reflecting ongoing concerns about job growth in the state.
A majority (52%) believes that increased business taxes will harm Nevada’s attempts to diversity our economy and attract new businesses to our state while 43% believe that “raising taxes and fees will have little impact” on the economy and business. A majority of voters are also comfortable with our current tax system and believe that making businesses pay more in taxes will increase the state’s unemployment rate and harm the state budget (54%) while changing our tax system to require more businesses to pay additional taxes is preferred by 39% of respondents.
A proposal to institute a margin tax on business finds mixed reactions from Nevada voters today. Only 46% of those polled believe a margin tax would provide needed revenues for education, while 47% believe such a tax will increase unemployment, hurt businesses, and harm efforts to attract new businesses to Nevada. A plurality were also less likely to support a margin tax if the funds raised are not required to be used on education (48% less likely to support and 20% more likely) and if the tax could impact the ability of small business owners to remain in business (45% less likely to support and 13% more likely). In fact, when given a choice between legalizing marijuana and using the tax proceeds for education versus enacting a margin tax, a far larger percentage of those polled would like to see marijuana legalized with the tax proceeds used for education (52%) than would like to see the state enact a margin tax on businesses (24%).
Nevadans are unhappy with the kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) education system in Nevada, with 40% giving the system a “D or F” grade, 34% giving the system a “C” and only 18% giving a grade of “A or B.” For the third time in a row, voters strongly believe that education reforms are much more likely to improve the education system in Nevada (70%) than increased education funding (16%).
“The poll shows just how strongly Nevadans support improving education in Nevada,” said Lau. “They just want to ensure that improving education is done correctly and without harming our fragile economic recovery and jobs.”
The RAN poll also asked about other issues that Nevadans will be acting on or affected by in the near future. By a 55% to 26% margin (with 17% undecided), Nevada voters would vote for a measure that would add an Appeals Court to its court system, whereby appeals of District Court decisions would be made to the new Appeals Court instead of the Supreme Court. Nevada voters also favor removing the Protection of Marriage provision from the state Constitution (57% favor to 36% opposed) in order to allow same-sex couples to legally marry in the state. By a 54% to 42% margin, Nevada voters also favor legalizing the sale of marijuana for recreational use if all tax revenue generated was used for education funding. Strong sentiment on this issue is equally balanced – 37% “strongly” favor while 34% “strongly” oppose.
On the subject of the new healthcare law that is taking effect, the majority of Nevadans (58%) believe the new healthcare law will increase their costs, and 47% believe it will worsen access to healthcare (47%). Only 26% believe that ObamaCare will lower their costs and 35% think it will improve access to health care. The remainder were unsure or believe that it will have no impact.
Despite the Democratic Party’s significant registration advantage in Nevada, neither political party enjoys a significant state electoral advantage. According to those polled, if the election for state legislature were held today, 36% would vote for the Republican candidate today, while 39% would vote for the Democrat and the remaining voters have no opinion (21%) or wouldn’t vote for either party (3%).
RAN commissions their surveys twice a year which allows trends to be identified and provides an historical context to some of the toughest challenges facing Nevada. This poll was conducted by Moore Information, Inc., a national opinion research and strategic analysis firm. Founded in 1981 by Bob Moore, Moore Information has earned a national reputation for excellence in quantitative and qualitative research in politics, public affairs/public relations, public policy and government.