Minnesota Odds and Ends

| Tom Jensen

-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.

-On the retro section of our Minnesota poll we find that in a redo of the 1998 Minnesota Governor’s race voters would pick Norm Coleman this time around instead of Jesse Ventura. Coleman gets 35% to 27% for Ventura with Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey III again finishing in third place at 26%. Six years after leaving office Coleman has actually become a relatively anonymous figure in the state- 34% of voters have a favorable opinion of him, 34% an unfavorable one, and 32% don’t have one way or the other. Ventura is now an exceedingly unpopular figure with only 27% of voters rating him favorably to 53% who have a negative opinion of him.

Tim Pawlenty is experiencing a resurgence in his image with his abortive 2012 Presidential campaign well in the rear view mirror. 42% of voters in the state have a favorable opinion of him now to 33% with a negative one. That compares well to 2013 in our polling when he had just a 39% favorability rating to 50% of voters who gave him negative marks. 

Not experiencing a resurgence in her image is Michele Bachmann- only 26% of voters in the state have a positive opinion of her to 56% with an unfavorable one. That’s even worse than the 31/56 spread she had last summer. Democrats (13/76) and independents (24/57) hate her and even with Republicans she can only muster a 45/31 favorability rating. It seems pretty safe to say she has no future in statewide office.

-Finally sports. 70% of voters in Minnesota identity themselves as Twins fans with no other team enjoying more than 3% fan support. There are very few states in the country as united around a single baseball team as that. Twins fans are predictably very happy with the job Paul Molitor is doing as a manager- 66% approve of him compared to only 2% who disapprove. The fan base is pretty confident about the prospect of playing in October- 65% think they’ll make the playoffs. But they’re also pretty realistic about how far that might go- only 15% think they’ll play in the World Series and just 5% think they’ll win it.

-Minnesotans aren’t quite as united around the Twins as they are around the Vikings. 60% are Vikings fans but there’s also a 9% level of support for the Packers, and the Broncos and Seahawks each get 4%. Vikings fans have mixed feelings about Adrian Peterson- only 45% have a favorable opinion of him to 32% with a negative one. But at the same time 68% think Peterson should be kept on the team to only 20% who would like to see him go. There’s less ambiguity when it comes to feelings about Mike Zimmer- he’s popular with 67% of fans approving of the job he’s doing to just 6% who disapprove.

Full results here

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