Fairgoers say marriage definition shouldn’t be in state constitution, support weakens for photo identification voting requirement

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Minnesotans do not appear willing to change the states constitution to define marriage.

Of the record 12,549 people participating in the 2011 House of Representatives State Fair Poll, 66.5 percent said the state constitution should not be amended to define marriage as only a union of one man and one woman, while 29.8 percent believe the constitution should be changed. The question will be asked on the November 2012 ballot.

Conducted by nonpartisan House Public Information Services, the poll is an informal, unscientific survey of issues discussed in prior legislative sessions and may again be topics of discussion in 2012. Last year, a then-record 9,926 fairgoers cast ballots.

A bill vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton in the 2011 session would have required voters to show a current, government-issued picture ID before casting their ballot. Of the people taking part in our poll, 50.8 percent believe showing identification should be a requirement to vote, while 46.4 percent do not. The numbers are a considerable drop from previous years results. In 2010, 69.1 percent said yes; in 2008, 67 percent.

The 20-day state government shutdown was still fresh on the minds of many polltakers with numerous comments from all sides directed at legislators.

Approximately 69 percent of polltakers believe that current levels of state funding should remain in effect if the governor and legislators cannot agree on a state budget for an upcoming biennium; 25.2 percent oppose the idea. Only 25.4 percent believe the state constitution should be changed so the Legislature can call itself into special session. Currently, the governor is the only person who can do that.

More than 51 percent of polltakers believe an expansion of gambling is warranted to provide additional state revenue. Slightly more than  40 percent oppose the idea. The question did not address any specific gaming proposal, such as a racino, a casino near the Mall of America or slot machines at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Last year, the yes results were 52.2 percent.

Fairgoers again showed they do not want clothing taxed, with 62.3 percent saying that would be a bad idea. For comparison, nearly 85 percent said no in the 2008 poll. Nor did this years polltakers believe local governments should be able to impose a sales tax without legislative authorization 67.6 percent said the current system is fine.

A pair of education questions received strong responses:

  • 65.1 percent of polltakers believe students should be required to stay in school until age 18 or graduation, whichever comes first; and
  • 62.5 support publicly funded preschool for all children.

Polltakers also believe:

  • it should be illegal to use a cellular phone while driving, except in emergency situations (62.3 percent);
  • workers should not be required to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment (54.2 percent); and
  • anglers should not be able to fish with two lines on open water in warmer months like they can during ice fishing season (45.8 percent). In 2009, 51 percent opposed the idea.
  • More than 88 percent of polltakers said they know who represents them in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Heres a look at the questions and results. All percentages are rounded to the nearest one-tenth. Totals are for those that actually voted on the question.

1. If the governor and legislators cannot agree on a state budget for an upcoming biennium, should the current level of funding remain in effect to prevent a state government shutdown?
Yes………………………………….. 69.2%……….. (8,627)
No…………………………………… 25.2%……….. (3,137)
Undecided/No Opinion……….. 5.6%……………. (703)

2. Should the state constitution be amended to define marriage as only a union of one man and one woman? This question will be on the November 2012 ballot.
Yes………………………………….. 29.8%……….. (3,743)
No…………………………………… 66.5%……….. (8,345)
Undecided/No Opinion……….. 3.7%……………. (461)

3. Should the states sales tax be expanded to include clothing purchases?
Yes………………………………….. 30.8%……….. (3,856)
No…………………………………… 62.3%……….. (7,794)
Undecided/No Opinion……….. 6.9%……………. (862)

4. Anglers can now ice fish with two lines. Should they also be allowed to use two lines on open water during warmer months?
Yes………………………………….. 29.6%……….. (3,696)
No…………………………………… 45.8%……….. (5,720)
Undecided/No Opinion……….. 24.7%……….. (3,083)

5. Should students be required to stay in school through age 18 or graduation, whichever comes first?
Yes………………………………….. 65.1%……….. (8,131)
No…………………………………… 26.8%……….. (3,352)
Undecided/No Opinion……….. 8.1%…………. (1,012)

6. Local governments currently must get special legislation to impose a sales tax. Should they be permitted to impose the tax without legislative authorization?
Yes………………………………….. 25.5%……….. (3,186)
No…………………………………… 67.6%……….. (8,435)
Undecided/No Opinion……….. 6.9%……………. (864)

7. Only the governor can call the Legislature into special session, but he or she cannot limit the agenda. Should the state constitution be changed so the Legislature can call itself into special session?
Yes………………………………….. 25.4%……….. (3,173)
No…………………………………… 64.2%……….. (8,003)
Undecided/No Opinion……….. 10.4%……….. (1,295)

8. Should voters be required to show a current, government-issued picture ID before casting their ballot?
Yes………………………………….. 50.8%……….. (6,361)
No…………………………………… 46.4%……….. (5,805)
Undecided/No Opinion……….. 2.8%……………. (352)

9. Should the state allow for an expansion of gambling to provide additional revenue for the state?
Yes………………………………….. 51.6%……….. (6,455)
No…………………………………… 40.1%……….. (5,008)
Undecided/No Opinion……….. 8.3%…………. (1,035)

10. Do you support publicly funded preschool for all children?
Yes………………………………….. 62.5%……….. (7,813)
No…………………………………… 31.3%……….. (3,910)
Undecided/No Opinion……….. 6.2%……………. (769)

11. It is currently illegal to text message while driving. Should it also be illegal to use a cellular phone, except in emergency situations?
Yes………………………………….. 62.3%……….. (7,790)
No…………………………………… 32.5%……….. (4,068)
Undecided/No Opinion……….. 5.2%……………. (652)

12. Would you support a right-to-work law, meaning workers are not required to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment?
Yes………………………………….. 54.2%……….. (6,770)
No…………………………………… 36.8%……….. (4,597)
Undecided/No Opinion……….. 9.0%…………. (1,121)

13. Do you know who your state representative is?
Yes………………………………….. 88.2%……… (11,026)
No…………………………………… 10.8%……….. (1,354)
Undecided/No Opinion……….. 0.9%……………. (116)

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