Case Studies

Nebraska Pre-Natal Care Funding

nebraska-stampFor decades, the state of Nebraska provided pre-natal care to uninsured women as well as women who were in the United States without documentation.  In 2010, the federal government told the State of Nebraska that is was using the wrong funds for this program, and Nebraska stopped funding pre-natal care for its residents. 

Working with the Nebraska Democratic Party, Thirty-Ninth Street Strategies conducted polling to see where voters in one of the most conservative, Republican states stood on restoring pre-natal funding to uninsured or undocumented women.  Polling showed that over two-thirds (67%) of Nebraska voters wanted to restore funding to this important program.  A majority (55%) of self-described conservatives wanted to restore the program while 57% or Republicans wanted to restore it. 

Nebraska elects their state senators in non-partisan elections, though the unofficial make-up of the legislature at the time was 34 Republicans and 15 Democrats.   If Democrats wanted to pass any legislation, they needed to convince several Republicans to join them.  Using the results of the poll, Nebraska Democrats were able to convince Republican state senators to restore funding, and the bill was supported by 31 senators.

However, this was just the beginning.  Popular Republican Governor Dave Heineman vetoed the bill, believing that Democrats in the legislature would never be able to hold all the Republicans who voted for the bill to override his veto. 

When it came time to override the veto, 30 senators voted to override it.  Only one senator who had voted for the underlying legislation changed his position and voted against overriding the Governor’s veto.  Senators in Nebraska believed the accuracy of the data provided by Thirty-Ninth Street Strategies and felt confident that voters wanted them to override a popular Governor’s veto.  Thanks to the work provided by Thirty-Ninth Street Strategies, the state of Nebraska now funds pre-natal care for uninsured women, including those who are here without documentation. 

Thirty Ninth Street Strategies