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State Fair poll shows majority favors masks in schools, increased role for Legislature

A majority of those who responded to the 2021 House of Representatives State Fair Poll support requiring K-12 students to wear masks in school during the 2021-22 school year. Photo by Andrew VonBank

A majority of those who responded to the 2021 House of Representatives State Fair Poll support requiring K-12 students to wear masks in school during the 2021-22 school year. The poll found 51.3% of respondents support the idea, 41.3% said they are against the requirement and 7.4% are undecided.

Polltakers also favor an expanded role for the Legislature when it comes to oversight of the governor’s peacetime emergency powers. Asked whether lawmakers should have the power to terminate any rule or order issued by the governor if a peacetime emergency lasts more than 30 days, 45.9% answered “yes,” 37.4% said “no” and 16.7% are undecided.

Conducted by the nonpartisan House Public Information Services Office, the poll is an informal, unscientific survey of issues discussed in prior legislative sessions and may again be topics of discussion in 2022. This year’s poll was taken by 5,231 fairgoers, a significant drop from 2019, when 11,239 people took the poll, reflecting the overall decline in attendance at this year’s fair.

More than 5,200 fairgoers took part in this year's edition of the opinion poll. Photo by Andrew VonBank

The 12-question poll also found support for a statewide ban on flavored tobacco products (54.6%) and automatic voter registration (53.9%). But there was a lack of support for other proposals, such as prohibiting law enforcement officers from making traffic stops for minor equipment violations such as a broken taillight or an expired license tab (57% opposed), and allowing those without proof of legal residence in the state to obtain a driver’s license or identification card (57.7% against).

The latter question was one of three asked in a previous poll. When a similar question was asked in 2019 50.4% of respondents said they were opposed to the idea.

However, support for legalizing the recreational use of marijuana by persons age 21 and over has increased slightly, with 58.3% now in favor of legalization and 34.1% against it. When that question was asked in 2019, 56.3% were in favor and 33.8% opposed.

Support for legalized sports betting remains largely unchanged as 40.7% of polltakers favor legalizing and regulating gambling on collegiate and professional sports (the same percentage as when a similar to a question asked in 2018), while 40.3% said they were opposed (versus 41.6% in 2018) and 19% were undecided (17.7% in 2018).

The majority of polltakers also:

  • expressed confidence that the state’s elections system is secure;
  • oppose allowing bars and restaurants to sell wine, beer and mixed drinks to-go on a permanent basis;
  • favor establishing a school voucher system; and
  • favor prohibiting schools from suspending or expelling students in kindergarten through third grade until all other disciplinary measures have been tried or there is an ongoing serious safety threat.

Here are the final results of the 2021 House of Representatives State Fair Poll. All percentages are rounded to the nearest one-tenth. (Totals are for those who actually voted on the question.)

1. Should Minnesota legalize and regulate gambling on professional and collegiate sports?

Yes — 40.7% (2,095 votes)

No — 40.3% (2,077)

Undecided/No opinion — 19% (978)

 

2. Should K-12 students be required to wear masks in school during the upcoming school year?

Yes — 51.3% (2,648)

No — 41.3% (2,129)

Undecided/No opinion — 7.4% (383)

 

3. Should law enforcement officers be prohibited from making traffic stops for minor equipment violations such as a broken taillight or an expired license tab?

Yes — 34.4% (1,765)

No — 57% (2,920)

Undecided/No opinion — 8.6 (442)

 

4. Should the state ban the sale of flavored tobacco products such as menthol cigarettes and some vaping products?

Yes — 54.6% (2,794)

No — 36% (1,841)

Undecided/No opinion — 9.4% (483)

 

5. Should the state implement automatic voter registration using information collected during transactions such as getting a driver’s license, rather than the current system where voters choose to register?

Yes — 53.9% (2,762)

No — 36.6% (1,875)

Undecided/No opinion — 9.5% (492)

 

6. Should bars and restaurants be allowed to sell wine, beer and mixed drinks to-go?

Yes — 43.7% (2,239)

No — 46% (2,357)

Undecided/No opinion — 10.3% (526)

 

7. Are you confident the state’s elections system is secure?

Yes — 55.6% (2,858)

No — 38% (1,956)

Undecided/No opinion — 6.4% (334)

 

8. Should a school voucher system be established whereby the state issues parents a voucher equal to the state's cost of educating a child for a year, and parents can then choose the school their child attends, whether public or private?

Yes — 46.2% (2,367)

No — 40% (2,049)

Undecided/No opinion — 13.8% (709)

 

9. Should people without proof of legal residence in the state be allowed to obtain a driver’s license or identification card?

Yes — 32.3% (1,662)

No — 57.7% (2,970)

Undecided/No opinion — 10% (513)

 

10. Should Minnesota allow the recreational use of marijuana by persons age 21 and over?

Yes — 58.3% (3,003)

No — 34.1% (1,757)

Undecided/No opinion — 7.6% (389)

 

11. Should schools be prohibited from suspending or expelling students from kindergarten through the third grade until all other disciplinary measures have been tried or there is an ongoing serious safety threat?

Yes — 63.7% (3,265)

No — 25.7% (1,316)

Undecided/No opinion — 10.6% (543)

 

12. If a peacetime emergency lasts more than 30 days, should the Legislature have the power to terminate any specific rule or order issued by the governor during the emergency?

Yes — 45.9% (2,362)

No — 37.4% (1,929)

Undecided/No opinion — 16.7% (859)


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