Many Minnesotans are returning to school and work this week as an increasing number of people are testing positive for COVID-19.
Yet even as person-to-person interaction rises in schools and workplaces — increasing opportunities for the disease to spread — proven mitigation measures like vaccines and masks remain contentious.
Still, a recent poll by MinnPost and Change Research suggests the majority of Minnesota voters support requiring unvaccinated students to wear masks in schools and employers’ rights to mandate vaccines in the workplace.
Masks in schools
In July, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended masks for students — regardless of vaccination status — in schools.
But as the school year starts up with most students attending in-person, Minnesota districts are split on whether or not to require masks for students (here’s a list of district mask policies from KARE 11).
The MinnPost/Change Research poll found that 54 percent of Minnesotans who are registered to vote either somewhat or strongly support requiring unvaccinated K-12 students to wear masks in schools, while 44 percent somewhat or strongly oppose such measures. Two percent of respondents said they weren’t sure whether they supported or opposed such a requirement.
There was some variation across demographics and geographies, with respondents identifying as women, Democrats and those leaning toward the Democratic Party and urban residents more likely to support a requirement that unvaccinated students wear masks in K-12 schools.
Among subgroups of respondents:
Vaccines in the workplace
Since COVID-19 vaccines became available last year, an increasing number of Minnesota employers are requiring workers to be vaccinated to be in the workplace. (Employers are legally permitted to mandate vaccinations; we’re keeping a list of employers that have done so here.)
When it comes to employers’ right or obligation to mandate vaccinations in the workplace, 39 percent of respondents said businesses should not be allowed to require vaccines, even if employees are working together indoors; 35 percent said businesses should require vaccinations if employees are working together indoors and 23 percent said employers should have the discretion to mandate vaccines or not. Three percent said they weren’t sure.
Again, these numbers similarly vary based on demographics, geography and political affiliation.
Additional results can be found here.
The poll was conducted from August 28 to 31 and respondents included 1,945 registered voters.
Change Research’s online polling methodology uses targeted social media ads and text messages to recruit respondents. The organization has a B- pollster rating from FiveThirtyEight.
The company uses a “modeled” margin of error, which it says accounts for the effects of weighting the poll (or making adjustments to better reflect the state’s demographics). The results were weighted on age, gender, race/ethnicity, 2020 vote, education, and region. The modeled margin of error for the statewide sample was +/- 2.5 percentage points. The margin of error for women is +/- 3.3 percentage points. For men it is +/- 3.7 percentage points. The margin of error for Democrats and leaners is +/- 3.7 percentage points. For Republicans and leaners it is +/- 3.7 percentage points. The margin of error for geographies are rural: +/- 3.8 percentage points, suburban: +/- 4.2 percentage points; urban, +/- 5 percentage points.
Rural/suburban/urban distinctions are based on GreatData classifications.
More information on the methodology can be found here.
Keep an eye on MinnPost in the coming days for more reporting on the poll.
Note: The margins of error in this story have been updated to use the modeled margin of error.