-Voters in Minnesota are closely divided on whether there should be justice for Cecil the Lion- 33% think hunter Walter Palmer should be criminally prosecuted for shooting the lion, while 37% think he should not be prosecuted. 30% don't have an opinion either way. The issue of whether to prosecute Palmer divides along party lines- Democrats think 49/22 that he should be punished, but Republicans think 21/53 that he should not.
Voters across party lines do agree on a couple things related to the shooting though. Whether they support charging him or not they don't like Palmer- only 13% of voters see him favorably to 53% with a negative opinion. And they support a worldwide ban on the trophy hunting of threatened species by an overwhelming 67/20 margin. Democrats (84/7), independents (57/30), and Republicans (55/26) would all support such a measure.
-All three of Minnesota's major statewide elected officials are relatively popular, but Amy Klobuchar continues to be by far the best liked politician in the state. Klobuchar has a 55% approval rating with only 29% of disapproving of her, making her one of the most popular Senators in the country. Al Franken (48/43) and Mark Dayton (47/42) have almost identical approval numbers. What sets Klobuchar apart is that even 25% of Republicans like her, compared to just 13% for Dayton and 9% for Franken.
-Minnesota reflects what we're seeing everywhere across the country right now on a trio of hot button political issues. 84% of voters in the state support background checks on all gun purchases, compared to only 11% who are opposed to them. There's a strong bipartisan consensus on the issue with Democrats (91/7), independents (82/13), and Republicans (78/14) all strongly in support.
77% of voters in the state say gay marriage being legal there has had either a positive impact on their lives or no impact at all, with just 23% claiming it's had a negative effect on them. There are actually more voters in the state (25%) who say its being legal has been a positive thing for them than there are (23%) who say it's been a negative thing. Even among Republicans 57% grant that gay marriage being legal hasn't negatively affected their lives.
Voters in the state narrowly support the Affordable Care Act, 43/41. At this point Democrats (79%) are more in favor of Obamacare than Republicans (72%) are in opposition to it. It used to be that Obamacare was unpopular any time that we polled on it in a politically competitive state like Minnesota- now we're generally finding it to be more popular than unpopular, even if the margins are tight.
-When it comes to the state legislative picture in Minnesota voters don't care for either party. The DFL members have only a 29% approval rating, with 49% of voters disapproving of them. But that puts them in good standing compared to the Republicans who are even worse off with just 18% of voters giving them good marks to 63% who disapprove. Democrats lead the generic legislative ballot in the state 46/40.
We tested a couple of other state issues:
-There continues to be overwhelming support for Sunday liquor sales, 67/24. That's something independents (71/21), Democrats (69/21), and Republicans (60/32) are all in agreement on, and it's something we've repeatedly found to be extremely popular in our polling over the years.
-There's even more resounding support- 76% to only 20% opposition- for requiring employers to give a reasonable amount of paid leave time for the birth of or adoption of a child. That too has strong bipartisan backing with Democrats (88/10), Republicans (69/26), and independents (69/27) all firmly behind it.