More than 9,000 State Fair goers filled out House opinion poll

The Minnesota House of Representatives offered an unscientific opinion poll at its State Fair booth, as usual this year, and got more than 9,000 people to give their opinions on some issues facing the state.

This isn’t exactly a sampling of state voters, or even State Fair goers; those finding their way to the back of the Education Building tend to be politically wonkier than than average Pronto-Pup aficionado.

And the state Senate opted to forgo its annual fair survey, instead giving voters a chance to look up their new district and polling place, following this year’s statewide redistricting.

Here’s how some of the House fair poll results broke down:

  • Hugely against employers requiring workers to give their social media passwords
  • Almost even on Internet sales tax
  • In favor of a higher threshhold in the Legislature for putting constitutional amendments on the statewide ballot
  • In favor of Sunday liquor sales and mandatory helmets on motorcycle riders
  • In favor of using performance, rather than seniority, in teacher layoffs
  • In favor of starting school before Labor Day
  • Against expanding the self-defense shooting rules, ala Florida

Here are the 13 questions and detailed results:

1. Should employers be allowed to require employees
to provide their social media passwords as a condition
of employment?
Yes…………………………………….. 3.9%………………… (353)
No……………………………………… 92.6%……………. (8,326)
Undecided/No Opinion ………… 3.5%………………… (317)

2. A number of items that are taxable in stores, such
as books, movies and music, are not subject to sales
tax when downloaded from the Internet. Should the
state collect sales tax on these digital goods?
Yes…………………………………….. 47.0%……………. (4,218)
No……………………………………… 44.6%……………. (4,006)
Undecided/No Opinion ………… 8.4%………………… (755)

3. Minnesotans can now legally purchase and use
sparklers, toy smoke devices and glow worms. Should
other consumer fireworks, such as bottle rockets and
firecrackers, also be legalized?
Yes…………………………………….. 47.8%……………. (4,298)
No……………………………………… 45.0%……………. (4,045)
Undecided/No Opinion ………… 7.1%………………… (640)

4. Should motorcyclists be required to wear a helmet?
Yes…………………………………….. 69.9%……………. (6,277)
No……………………………………… 25.0%……………. (2,242)
Undecided/No Opinion ………… 5.1%………………… (460)

5. Should Hmong-American and Lao-American
veterans who fought on the U.S. side during the
Vietnam War be eligible for burial at the Minnesota
State Veterans Cemetery near Camp Ripley?
Yes…………………………………….. 85.1%……………. (7,640)
No……………………………………… 6.8%………………… (615)
Undecided/No Opinion ………… 8.0%………………… (720)

6. Currently, when schools need to lay off teachers,
they must determine who will lose their jobs based on
seniority. Should school districts be authorized to use
performance evaluations in making layoff decisions?
Yes…………………………………….. 71.9%……………. (6,450)
No……………………………………… 20.4%……………. (1,828)
Undecided/No Opinion ………… 7.8%………………… (697)

7. Should liquor stores be allowed to be open on
Sundays?
Yes…………………………………….. 63.0%……………. (5,670)
No……………………………………… 29.9%……………. (2,687)
Undecided/No Opinion ………… 7.1%………………… (634)

8. In child custody disputes, a parent is currently
entitled to receive at least 25 percent of parenting
time. Should each parent be guaranteed at least 45.1
percent of parenting time?
Yes…………………………………….. 26.9%……………. (2,408)
No……………………………………… 45.5%……………. (4,076)
Undecided/No Opinion ………… 27.7%……………. (2,483)

9. Should companies that violate environmental laws
be ineligible for state tax breaks or subsidies?
Yes…………………………………….. 66.8%……………. (5,996)
No……………………………………… 25.5%……………. (2,290)
Undecided/No Opinion ………… 7.7%………………… (693)

10. A simple majority of both bodies of the Legislature
is required to get a constitutional amendment on the
ballot. Should there be a higher threshold?
Yes…………………………………….. 53.4%……………. (4,778)
No……………………………………… 36.3%……………. (3,250)
Undecided/No Opinion ………… 10.3%………………. (923)

11. Should the right to defend one’s self be expanded
so that an individual would no longer have a duty
to retreat before using force, including lethal force,
against an attacker in a public place?
Yes…………………………………….. 39.5%……………. (3,537)
No……………………………………… 47.9%……………. (4,297)
Undecided/No Opinion ………… 12.6%……………. (1,128)

12. Should all school districts be permitted to start
classes before Labor Day?
Yes…………………………………….. 56.4%……………. (5,066)
No……………………………………… 32.1%……………. (2,881)
Undecided/No Opinion ………… 11.6%……………. (1,042)

13. Every 10 years, legislative boundaries are
reconfigured to ensure equal representation. Do you
know which district you are in? If, not stop by the
Senate booth next door to find out!
Yes…………………………………….. 81.4%……………. (7,257)
No……………………………………… 15.4%……………. (1,372)
Undecided/No Opinion ………… 3.3%………………… (290).

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/05/2012 - 12:28 pm.

    As with any survey

    many of the issues are far too complicated to be addressed in a few words. In this survey, I’d place #6, 8, 9 and 11 in that category.

    • Submitted by Pat McGee on 09/05/2012 - 04:33 pm.

      Sound bite world

      I agree with you, James. But, to me, it looks like the questions in the survey gave more words to the issues than the typical survey and/or typical “news”cast. And that is sad.

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