Poll: Good riddance

Minnesotans want to think beyond the policies of the Dayton administration, especially about taxes and spending.

If you think Minnesotans are looking forward to a continuation of Dayton administration policies, our new Thinking Minnesota Poll will provide some compelling reasons to think twice. In fact, this installment of our quarterly survey of Minnesotans reveals some startling discoveries.

• The big policy winners? Tax cuts and reduced spending.

• The big policy losers? Using racial discipline quotas in public schools, spending for light rail and bike lanes, teaching a curriculum of white privilege in public schools, making Minnesota a “sanctuary state” and abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

• The prime movers? Independents, who disapprove of liberal policies and proposals by mostly wide margins.

• The surprise? Democrats are displaying independence on a variety of issues, with large majorities favoring roads before light rail, cutting government spending by 10 to 20 percent, and rejecting discipline by racial quotas in public schools. They even reject abolishing ICE.

When asked, “Overall, do you want the next governor of Minnesota to mostly continue the policies of Governor Mark Dayton, or take the state in a different direction?” a majority of Minnesotans (51 percent) said “different direction”—12 percent more than respondents who wanted to “continue the policies” (39 percent). But the significant takeaway from this question can be seen in a partisan breakdown. It is no surprise Republicans reject Dayton’s policy direction by 84 percent to 11 percent, nor is it a shock that Democrats favor the Dayton policy agenda by 74 percent to 15 percent. The real news is that a whopping majority of independents—62 percent to 24 percent—are looking for a change from the Dayton years.

The trend of wanting a change from Dayton’s policies is consistent in all parts of Minnesota outside the Twin Cities. While 12 percent more Twin Cities residents endorse a continuation of Dayton policies than want change, the rest of the state favors a new direction by huge margins: 35 percent in the west/northwest, 22 percent in the northeast, 21 percent in the suburbs, and 17 percent in the south.


Minnesotans support lowering personal income tax rates in all brackets by a two-to-one margin (65 percent to 31 percent). While Republicans favor tax cuts by a massive 79-point margin (88 percent to 9 percent), independents are not far behind (65 percent to 30 percent).

A majority of Minnesotans (76 percent to 18 percent) across party lines support cutting government spending 10 to 20 percent by eliminating waste and fraud. Republicans agree by 91 percent to 7 percent, independents agree by 73 percent to 17 percent, and it is shocking to see that even Democrats agree by more than two-to-one (64 percent to 31 percent).


Minnesotans voiced their unmistakable unified preference for state spending to improve roads before funding light rail and bike lanes (77 percent to 19 percent). Included in this remarkable result is the fact that all groups favored roads by at least 71 percent. Republicans were at 88 percent, independents and Democrats were both at 71 percent, as were residents of the Twin Cities. Residents outside the Twin Cities favor roads by a margin of 86 percent to 12 percent.


Minnesotans reject the notion of using public school classrooms to teach a curriculum of “white privilege” by 53 percent to 33 percent. Republicans disagree with the policy by a 61-point margin (73 percent to 12 percent). Independents oppose by a narrower 8-percent margin (46 percent to 38 percent). Democrats favor the policy 51 percent to 39 percent. It is interesting to note that by age, only people ages 18 to 34 support the policy (50 percent to 38 percent). Other age groups disapprove of the policy by margins between 13 percent and 39 percent.


By a margin of 59 points, Minnesotans across the board reject the notion of using racial quotas in student discipline, 71 percent to 12 percent. (Editor’s note: A lengthy analysis of that discipline policy, “Lesson Not Learned,” can be found on page 28 of this magazine.) The unambiguous rejection exists throughout the state: Republicans (80 percent), Democrats (69 percent), independents (61 percent), the Twin Cities (70 percent), and the rest of the state (72 percent).


Minnesotans also reject by 60 percent to 36 percent the idea of making Minnesota a “sanctuary state,” in which federal immigration laws will not be enforced. Only Democrats favor this policy (58 percent to 35 percent).


Minnesotans oppose the proposal to eliminate the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency by more than two-toone, 62 percent to 29 percent. Even a majority of Democrats disagree with the plan, 51 percent to 41 percent.