Monday, May 16, 2011

The Minnesota Poll throws everything at the wall, some it of sticks

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe StarTribune spent last week and weekend doing a slow release of information from their Minnesota Poll, with some of the numbers providing a bit of a surprise. Let's dive right in starting in chronological order of when the Strib released the individual numbers.

StarTribune (PSRA) (5/9, no trend lines):
"Do you think Native American tribes should continue to have exclusive rights to operate casino gambling facilities in Minnesota, or do you think gambling should be opened up to others?"

Should be opened up to others 72
Tribes should have exclusive rights 23
Don't know/refused 5

"If the gambling is expanded, which one of the following would you most prefer? The choices are:"

Allowing video slot machines at Canterbury Park and Running Aces racetracks 20
A casino in downtown Minneapolis 12
A casino at the mall of America 8
Allowing video slot machines in bars and restaurants 8
Would you prefer to see gambling expanded in all of these areas? 37
None/oppose all (volunteered) 11
Don't know/refused 4
(MoE: ±4.7%)

The fact that 72% of respondents don't like the tribal exclusive on gambling might be the least surprising result of the entire poll. There is some genuine opposition to gambling expansion, but not all of that opposition is from the tribal rights point of view so when the expansion question is framed this way it's not surprising to see results like this.

The follow-up though confirms that there is not insignificant support for an overall expansion of gambling, a plurality, 37% want to see gambling opened up in all areas. You can probably think of the Downtown Casino and Mall of America Casino answers as supporting essentially the same idea, so that group is about 20% and another 20% for the Racino's.

Feel free to add the 37% who support all forms of gambling expansion to both the Twin Cities Casino or the Racino's support numbers to come up with well over 50% in favor of both proposals with only 11% firmly against any expansion.

This should be a no-brainer for the legislature, but considering the blow-up happening in the GOP over gambling right now, who knows what will come of it.


StarTribune (PSRA) (5/10, 10/2010 in parenthesis):
"Do you think the Minnesota Vikings need a new stadium or should they continue using the Metrodome in Minneapolis?"

New stadium 34 (27)
Use Metrodome 62 (66)
Don't know/refused 4 (7)

"Would you favor or oppose using public money for a new Vikings stadium?"

Favor 22
Oppose 74
Don't know/refused 4

"How important is it to you that the Vikings stay in Minnesota?"

Very/somewhat important 66
Not too/not at all important 33
Don't know/refused 1

"Do you think the Twins' new baseball stadium at Target Field has been worth the public expense or not?"

Yes, it has 55 (48)
No, it has not 31 (40)
Don't know/refused 15 (12)
(MoE: ±4.7%)

These are fun numbers. Minnesotan's don't think that the Vikings need a new stadium, are absolutely opposed to any public money being spent on a stadium, yet think it's important that the Vikings stay in Minnesota. Not only that, they now think it was a great idea to build the Twins stadium.

This just lets the legislature know that it can go ahead with a stadium deal and the public will probably come around to liking it in the end.


StarTribune (PSRA) (5/12, no trend lines):
"Please tell me if you would favor or oppose requiring Minnesota voters to show a photo ID in order to vote."

Favor 80
Oppose 18
Don't know/refused 2
(MoE: ±4.7%)

These are terrifying numbers, I don't really know what else to say. Democrats are the strongest opposition group and they're only at 33% opposed, while the GOP is completely unified on this issue. The upside, this question wording is the best case scenario for the GOP though as it's not a question about a constitutional amendment, which is the route this would have to go.

One would hope that there would be more trepidation to actually amending the state constitution to include this provision then there is support for the concept in general. In reality the amendment will have to actually appear on the ballot and get a majority of support, so there is still hope that the GOP can screw it up.


StarTribune (PSRA) (5/13, no trend lines):
"Please tell me if you would favor or oppose amending the Minnesota constitution to ban same-sex marriage."

Favor 39
Oppose 55
Don't know/refused 7
(MoE: ±4.7%)

Unlike the photo id question, this one specifically asks about support for actually amending the state constitution and the results show the uphill battle that the marriage discrimination amendment faces.

To be approved an amendment needs to receive majority support, but not the majority of the people who vote on the amendment, a majority of all voters. This means that someone not voting on the amendment question at all is as good as a no vote.


StarTribune (PSRA) (5/15, no trend lines):
"Do you approve or disapprove of the way Mark Dayton is handling his job as governor?"

Approve 54
Disapprove 20
Don't know/refused 26
(MoE: ±4.7%)

+34 is pretty good and when I say pretty good what I mean is really really good. The support cuts across all demographic categories as well, the only group he's underwater with are Republicans who don't really hate him at 32/38/30. He's over 60% with all respondents 45 and up and only under 50% with a couple groups and it's not that those groups don't like him, they just register more in the Don't know/refused column.

It will be interesting to see how he weathers the upcoming budget storm, but with numbers like these, it seems likely that many people will be or already have taken his side in that debate.


[Note: It seems the Minnesota Poll had a snafu with the wording of it's original budget question, this is from the methodology page]:

Results for the question about the best approach to solving the budget deficit -- primarily through service reductions or through a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts -- are based on interviews with 548 of the 806 respondents. The question was reasked in follow-up calls to all respondents because of a problem in the original wording of the question, and 548 of the respondents were reached. Results of a poll based on 548 interviews will vary by no more than 5.7 percentage points, plus or minus, from the overall population 95 times out of 100.

StarTribune (PSRA) (5/15, no trend lines):
"Do you think the state's 5 billion budget deficit should be balanced primarily through a reduction in services or through a combination of tax increases and service reductions?"

Primarily service reductions 27
Tax increases and service reductions 63
Don't know/refused 10
(MoE: ±5.7%)

This goes a long way to support the idea that Minnesotan's will back Gov. Dayton during the coming budget showdown and that he should stand firm on his desire for a balanced approach to solving the problem.

The big question here is what to do with numbers that were not gathered as part of the original survey and were asked to a more limited pool of respondents as much as a week after the beginning of the initial survey.

Because the margin is so large we can be pretty confident of our conclusions, but I am treating this data as though it came from an entirely different poll, because in a way, it did.

[Note: The rest of the budget questions and results are from the initial survey.]

StarTribune (PSRA) (5/15, no trend lines):
"As I read you some state spending cuts being considered to fix the budget deficit, please tell me which one would be most acceptable to you. The choices are..."

Reducing spending on mass transit 48
Reducing aid to colleges and universities 15
Reducing aid to cities and counties 13
Reducing health care assistance for lower income people, the elderly and disabled 8
None of these are acceptable (volunteered) 13
Don't know/refused 3

"If the state decides to raise additional revenue to balance the budget, which one of the following would be most acceptable to you? The choices are..."

Raising Minnesota income taxes for high earners 39
Raising taxes on liquor and cigarettes 37
Increasing user fees for some government services 12
Increasing the sales tax 7
None of these are acceptable (volunteered) 5
Don't know/refused 1

"Do you think the effort in some states to limit collective bargaining by public employees is more about..."

Weakening unions 47
Controlling government costs 39
Don't know/refused 14
(MoE: ±4.7%)

Here we see that a plurality of Minnesotan's support increasing taxes on the state highest earners as a way of bringing in more revenue, with raising taxes on liquor and cigarettes coming in a close second. It's no surprise that sin taxes are popular, but they wouldn't really do a whole lot to help with the budget and raising the sales tax doesn't have a whole lot of support.

That results of the last question are nice to see, a plurality of Minnesotan's are fully aware of what the GOP's real reason is for trying to limit collective bargaining by public employees.


What are your thoughts on these numbers? Share them in the comments below.

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