Capitol Watch: Photo ID has 69% support

According to the latest Thinking Minnesota poll, Minnesotans support requiring voters to present a photo ID in order to vote by a margin of 69% to 28%. Support was strongest among Republicans (93%) and Independents (73%) but showing a government-issued identification to vote also received 45% support from Democrats. Election reform might be popular in Minnesota because one out of three respondents do not feel confident about the integrity of elections in our state.

“Asking people to show an ID before they vote is an easy way to restore confidence for all Minnesotans in the integrity of our elections,” said John Hinderaker, President of Center of the American Experiment. “It makes common sense, it’s obviously widely popular and it’s time to put it into law.”

A constitutional amendment requiring photo ID failed at the polls in 2012 after being connected to the marriage amendment and defeated in a well-funded and successful “Vote No” campaign. Photo ID enjoyed 80% support among Minnesotans before the 2012 campaign.

The poll also reveals concerns about the proposed changes to the way students learn about social studies, leading parents to question whether or not to send their children to public schools. After learning about a proposal to change social studies standards, 74% of Minnesotans said they were concerned with the direction and choices reflected in the draft. If the standards are approved as presented, one out of three parents said they would be less likely to send their children to public schools in Minnesota.

Even though a majority voiced concern about the overall social studies draft, respondents were conflicted over how to fix it. Minnesotans supported more instruction on indigenous people (75%) and institutional injustice (71%), but not at the expense of historical concepts like the Civil War and American Revolution (74%) and WWI, WWII, the Holocaust and communism (76%).

“When it comes to the draft social studies standards, the more people know, the less they like,” added Hinderaker. “American Experiment will keep advocating for the preservation of history in future drafts.”

American Experiment helped Minnesotans deliver over 6,000 comments to the standards review committee in early 2020 through the website  

In a related question, 60% of Minnesotans do not support the renaming of well-known landmarks and buildings in order to promote what some say is social justice.

Minnesotans were much less certain about other topics. When asked if students should be taught that “America’s history is rooted in systemic racism,” respondents were evenly split with 46% answering “yes” and 46% answering “no.” Young women were much more likely to favor teaching systemic racism than their older peers, with 63% of women ages 18-54 supporting.

The poll was conducted for American Experiment by Meeting Street Insights, a nationally recognized polling operation based in Charleston, South Carolina. Using a mix of cell phones and landline phones, the company interviewed 500 registered voters in Minnesota between February 16-18, 2021. The margin of error for a sample size of N=500 is ±4.38%.

This piece originally appeared in our Capitol Watch newsletter. Click here to receive the weekly Capitol Watch newsletter.