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Rasmussen: Ricketts Leads in Neb. Gov. Race

Sunday, 18 May 2014 10:10 AM

Following his narrow primary win on Tuesday, Republican nominee Pete Ricketts leads his Democratic opponent Chuck Hassebrook by seven points in Nebraska’s gubernatorial race.

The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of likely Nebraska voters shows Ricketts picking up 47 percent of the vote to Hassebrook’s 40 percent. Five percent (5 percent) prefer some other candidate in the race, while eight percent (8 percent) are undecided.

Ricketts won the Republican primary by just one percentage point over Attorney General John Bruning, and 73 percent of the state’s GOP voters now back their party’s nominee. Hassebrook, who ran unopposed in Tuesday’s primary, is backed by 80 percent of the state’s Democrats. The men are tied among voters not affiliated with either major political party.

The winner of the general election will replace Republican Governor Dave Heineman, who is term-limited. Sixty percent (60 percent) of the state’s voters approve of the job Heineman is doing, including 28 percent who strongly approve. Thirty-three percent (33 percent) disapprove of the governor’s job performance, with 16 percent who strongly disapprove.

Hassebrook, head of the non-profit Center for Rural Affairs, is less known among voters in the state than his Republican rival: 22 percent have never heard of the Democrat, while just two percent (2 percent) say that of Ricketts, a businessman and former head of Ameritrade.

Among those who do know both candidates, 17 percent have a very favorable impression of Hassebrook, while 10 percent view him very unfavorably. For Ricketts, reviews are 24 percent very favorable, 24 percent very unfavorable.

At this point in an election cycle, Rasmussen Reports considers the number of people with a strong opinion more significant than the total favorable/unfavorable numbers.

The survey of 750 likely voters in Nebraska was conducted on May 14-15, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Republican primary winner Ben Sasse still holds a 17-point lead over Democratic opponent David Domina in Nebraska’s U.S. Senate race.
Ricketts leads Hassebrook when it comes to voter trust on three out of four issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports. Nebraska voters trust the Republican more on government spending by a 44 percent to 31 percent margin and taxes by a similar 44 percent to 30 percent margin.

On government ethics and corruption, Ricketts has a 39 percent to 31 percent edge.

The two men are tied when it comes to whom voters trust more on social issues: 39 percent trust Ricketts more, while 38 percent have more faith in Hassebrook.

Fifty-seven percent (57 percent) of all voters in the state favor building the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to Texas which will run through Nebraska. Thirty-seven percent (37 percent) are opposed. This includes 35 percent who strongly favor building the pipeline and 23 percent who strongly oppose. That’s slightly lower support for the pipeline than is found nationally.

Seventy-four percent (74 percent) of voters who strongly favor building the pipeline support Ricketts. Hassebrook has the backing of 74 percent of those who are strongly opposed.

Nebraska opted not to create its own health insurance exchange under the new national health care law but to rely on the federal exchange instead. Thirty-seven percent (37 percent) of the state's voters have at least a somewhat favorable opinion of the health care law, while 60 percent view it unfavorably. This includes 15 percent with a very favorable opinion and 46 percent with a very unfavorable one. Voters in Nebraska have a more negative assessment of the law than voters do nationally.

Hassebrook has the support of 89 percent of voters who have a very favorable view of Obamacare. Seventy-nine percent (79 percent) of those with a very unfavorable opinion of the law prefer Ricketts.

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