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Minnesota Legislature

State Fair poll shows steady support for gun sale background checks, recreational marijuana

The poll, conducted at the House of Representatives' Minnesota State Fair booth Aug. 22-Sept. 2, is an informal, unscientific survey of issues discussed in prior legislative sessions and that may again be hot topics in 2020. Photo by Andrew VonBank

Support for criminal background checks on all gun sales and the legalization of marijuana for recreational use appears to have remained steady among Minnesotans during the past 12 months.

The 2019 House of Representatives State Fair Poll found that 89.1% of respondents favored background checks on all gun sales, including private transactions and sales made at gun shows, down slightly from the 89.3% who answered yes to the same question on the 2018 poll.

A majority of polltakers also said they were in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana for people age 21 or older. Results show 56.3% of respondents answered yes, up very slightly from 56.2% the year before, while 33.8% registered opposition, compared with 33.9% the year before.

2019 House of Representatives State Fair Opinion Poll results

Conducted by the nonpartisan House Public Information Services Office, the poll is an informal, unscientific survey of issues discussed in prior legislative sessions and that may again be topics of discussion in 2020.

Those questions were two of 12 asked in the poll, which was taken by 11,239 fairgoers. Results also found solid support for issues related to metro transit funding, restoration of felon voting rights and a ban on so-called “conversion therapy” for children and vulnerable adults.

More than 65% of polltakers support a quarter-cent sales tax increase in the seven-county metropolitan area to fund transit improvements and expansions, while a little over 60% voted in favor of restoring the voting rights of someone convicted of a felony immediately upon release from a correctional facility, with 32.5% opposed to the idea.

That viewpoint has changed significantly over the last five years. When the same question was asked on the 2014 state fair poll, 43% of respondents favored it and 47% were opposed.

A large majority (74.4%) said they favored a ban on so-called “conversion therapy” for vulnerable adults and those under the age of 18, by prohibiting mental health practitioners or professionals from seeking to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

More than 60% of respondents opposed a ban on abortions for women who are more than 20 weeks into their pregnancy, while 29.9% favored it.

More than 11,200 fairgoers took the House's 12-question opinion poll at the 2019 Minnesota State Fair. Photo by Andrew VonBank

Respondents were more divided on other issues.

A majority of respondents (55.3%) support the creation of a new insurance program, funded by a tax on employers and employees, which would provide workers with up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. But a proposal that would require Minnesota residents to provide proof of citizenship or lawful presence in the country to obtain a state driver’s license or identification card received more mixed results among fairgoers, with 42.6% in favor of the idea and 50.4% against.

Fairgoers were almost evenly split on removing the prohibition on school districts from beginning classes before Labor Day, with 41% for and 42% against the idea.     

Polltakers also:

  • favored a proposal to require high schools students to take a class in personal finance;
  • supported requiring elementary school students to learn cursive writing; and
  • said they would not support a tax credit for donations that fund scholarships to a private K-12 school.

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FULL RESULTS (All percentages are rounded to the nearest one-tenth. Totals are for those who actually voted on the question.)

1. Should Minnesota residents be required to provide proof of citizenship or lawful presence in the country to obtain a state driver’s license or identification card?

Yes — 42.6% (4,738)

No — 50.4% (5,607)

Undecided/No opinion — 7% (774)

 

2. School districts are prohibited by state statute from beginning classes before Labor Day. Should that prohibition be repealed?

Yes — 41% (4,547)

No — 42.4% (4,699)

Undecided/No opinion — 16.7% (1,847)

 

3. Should criminal background checks be required on all gun sales, including private transactions and at gun shows?

Yes — 89% (9,914)

No — 9% (998)

Undecided/No opinion — 2% (219)

 

4. Should the state provide a tax credit for donations that fund scholarships to private K-12 schools?

Yes — 36% (3,974)

No — 52.3% (5,763)

Undecided/No opinion — 11.7% (1,292)

 

5. Should high school students be required to take a class in personal finance, even if it means they have to give up another elective or postsecondary enrollment course option?

Yes — 70.1% (7,781)

No — 18.9% (2,101)

Undecided/No opinion — 11% (1,211)

 

6. Should the state ban abortions for women who are more than 20 weeks into their pregnancy?

Yes — 29.9 % (3,316)

No — 61.7% (6,847)

Undecided/No opinion — 8.4% (932)

 

7. Should Minnesota allow the recreational use of marijuana for those age 21 and over?

Yes — 56.3% (6,272)

No — 33.8% (3,761)

Undecided/No opinion — 9.9% (1,102)

 

8. Would you support a quarter-cent sales tax increase in the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area to fund transit improvements and expansions?

Yes — 65.5% (7,264)

No — 26.8% (2,972)

Undecided/No opinion — 7.8% (862)

 

9. Should the state create an insurance program to provide workers with up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, to be funded by a new tax on employers and employees?

Yes — 53.3% (5,899)

No — 31.7% (3,504)

Undecided/No opinion — 15.1% (1,666)

 

10. A person convicted of a felony is not eligible to vote while serving any part of their sentence, including time in a correctional facility and while on probation, parole or other supervised release. Should the law be changed so a person convicted of a felony regains their right to vote immediately upon release from a correctional facility?

Yes — 60.3% (6,699)

No — 32.5% (3,607)

Undecided/No opinion — 7.3% (807)

 

11. Should Minnesota ban “conversion therapy” for vulnerable adults and those under the age of 18 by prohibiting mental health practitioners or professionals from seeking to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity?

Yes — 74.4% (8,200)

No — 16.7% (1,844)

Undecided/No opinion — 8.9% (979)

 

12. Should elementary school students be required to learn cursive writing?

Yes — 55.1% (6,135)

No — 28.7% (3,194)

Undecided/No opinion — 16.2% (1,798)

 


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