Public Affairs Students Conduct Survey of Nevada's Registered Voters
By Afsha Bawany
Nevada’s education system tops the list of the biggest issues of concern to the state’s registered voters, according to the published results of a 2014 State of State Survey conducted by the UNLV School of Public Policy and Leadership. Nevada’s availability and quality of jobs and economic conditions ranked in at second and third.
The survey provides insight on voter positions regarding social issues, the quality of life in Nevada, legislative policy, crime and public safety.
The survey was developed and administered to registered voters in all 17 of Nevada’s counties by public affairs graduate students under the guidance of Lee Bernick, a public policy professor. Bernick and his students released the results in late 2015.
Bernick said the survey provided students first-hand experience in understanding, collecting and analyzing data.
“Nevada’s registered voters are complex in the way they think about policies. They make distinctions between things,” said Bernick. “Their responses are not hard line answers.”
The survey gives the public and policymakers information on who Nevada voters are and what they want. Nevada voters are not homogenous and vote based on the issues and not their identified party lines, the researchers said.
“People are not the stereotype of their ideology. A stereotypical conservative is not the conservative in our survey. Some self identified conservatives in the survey hold progressive views on specific issues,” said Alison Caliendo, a doctoral student who assisted in the research and analysis of the survey.
The survey also asked respondents’ opinions on gun control, immigration, taxes, healthcare, economy, the legalization of marijuana and their volunteer work.
- Respondents ranged in age from 19 to 90 and represent a wide spectrum of political perspectives.
- Researchers conducted a random sampling of registered voters in the Nevada Secretary of State’s database. Surveys were mailed to 4,000 individuals in 2014 and 526 responded with a margin of error of 4.4 percent.
- Females made up 50.3 percent of respondents while 49.7 percent were male. The most common income range of the individuals surveyed was $80,000 to $100,000. Most had at least some college.
- 22 percent of respondents said they had children under the age of 18 living in the home.
- 10.4 percent are grandparents raising their grandchildren.
- 81 percent surveyed identified themselves as Caucasian.
Bernick and his graduate students are currently conducting another survey of Nevada’s registered voters on similar and new topics in order to compare with recent results. Results are expected in spring 2016.