(September 7, 2010) – When legislators convene Jan. 4, 2011, they are expected to face a more than $5 billion state budget deficit. Of the 9,926 people participating in the 2010 House of Representatives State Fair Poll, 50.1 percent believe some combination of spending reductions and revenue increases is the best way to resolve the projected shortfall; 32.2 percent prefer only spending reductions; and 14.4 percent believe increased revenue is the answer.
Last year, 47.5 percent of polltakers generally supported budget cuts to balance the state budget and 44 percent supported tax increases. When asked the identical question in 2008, the split was 46.5 percent budget cuts to 43 percent tax increases. In neither year were polltakers given a combination option.
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.
More than 52 percent of polltakers believe an expansion of gambling is warranted to provide additional state revenue. Slightly more than 38 percent oppose the idea.
The Minnesota Vikings are scheduled to kick off their season this week; and the team’s lease at the Metrodome is scheduled to expire after the 2011 season. Team officials want a new facility.
Nearly two-thirds of polltakers do not want any public dollars used to help pay for a new facility, while just 24.5 percent support the idea. In 2009, 63.5 percent of polltakers said voter approval should be required before any public money is used for a new or refurbished stadium.
A trio of education questions received very strong responses:
• 62.2 percent of polltakers believe that an alternative teacher licensure pathway should be created so that candidates could receive a limited teaching license if they have at least a bachelor’s degree, pass basic skills tests and complete at least 200 hours of instruction, including student teaching
• The Legislature should take steps to limit tuition and fee increases at public colleges and universities (73.4 percent)
• School boards should not be able to extend operating levies without voter approval (72.4 percent).
Polltakers also strongly believe:
• A background check should be performed before someone can purchase a firearm at a gun show (85.2 percent)
• A juvenile should be able to have a low-level, non-violent crime cleared from their record if they meet certain conditions (71.1 percent)
• Voters should be required to show photo identification before receiving a ballot (69.1 percent)
• Liquor stores and automobile dealers should be permitted to open on Sundays (68.2 percent)
• 80.3 percent say that tax breaks or other financial assistance should be provided to encourage small-business growth.
Sixty percent of polltakers support lifting the state’s moratorium on nuclear power plant construction, and slightly more than half believe smoking should be prohibited in a motor vehicle when a minor is present.
Here’s 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.
• When someone wants to purchase a firearm at a gun show, should a background check on the buyer be required prior to the sale?
Yes – 85.2% (8,421)
No – 11.1% (1,101)
Undecided/No Opinion – 3.7% (362)
• Should voters be required to show a picture ID before casting their ballot?
Yes – 69.1% (6,831)
No – 24.7% (2,440)
Undecided/No Opinion – 6.2% (614)
• Should the state’s 16-year-old moratorium on nuclear power plant construction be lifted?
Yes – 60.5% (5,769)
No – 39.5% (3,759)
• If a juvenile commits a low-level nonviolent crime, such as drug possession, should they be able to get their record cleared if they complete a diversion program and remain law-abiding for a year?
Yes – 71.1% (7,002)
No – 18.5% (1,825)
Undecided/No Opinion – 10.4% (1,028)
• The Minnesota Vikings’ lease at the Metrodome expires after the 2011 season. Should public dollars be used to help pay for a new facility?
Yes – 24.5% (2,418)
No – 66.4% (6,561)
Undecided/No Opinion – 9.1% (900)
• Should school boards be given the authority to extend operating levies without voter approval?
Yes – 18.7% (1,838)
No – 72.4% (7,126)
Undecided/No Opinion – 8.9% (880)
Should smoking be prohibited in a motor vehicle when a minor is present?
Yes – 51.2.% (5,047)
No – 37.8% (3,733)
Undecided/No Opinion – 11.0% (1,087)
• The state is expected to face a multi-billion dollar deficit in the upcoming biennium. In general, what is your preferred way to balance the budget?
Increase revenue – 14.4% (1,425)
Decrease spending – 32.2% (3,177)
A combination of the two – 50.1% (4,949)
Undecided/No Opinion – 3.2% (319)
• Should the state allow for an expansion of gambling to provide additional revenue for the state?
Yes – 52.2% (5,155)
No – 38.7% (3,821)
Undecided/No Opinion – 9.0% (890)
• Do you believe liquor stores and automobile dealers should be permitted to open on Sundays?
Yes – 68.2% (6,742)
No – 25.1% (2,480)
Undecided/No Opinion – 6.8% (668)
Should an alternative teacher licensure pathway be created so that candidates could receive a limited teaching license if they have at least a bachelor’s degree, pass basic skills tests and complete at least 200 hours of instruction, including student teaching?
Yes – 62.2% (6,131)
No – 26.5% (2,606)
Undecided/No Opinion – 11.3% (1,115)
• Do you support tax breaks or other funding assistance to encourage small-business growth?
Yes – 80.3% (7,921)
No – 10.7% (1,052)
Undecided/No Opinion – 9.1% (893)
• Should the Legislature take steps to limit tuition and fee increases at public colleges and universities?
Yes – 73.4% (7,239)
No – 17.8% (1,758)
Undecided/No Opinion – 8.8% (870)