Minnesota has, of course, a reputation as a blue state—a reputation that, when it comes to specific policy issues, is usually not borne out by poll data. This month, we asked Minnesota voters whether they think that in general, social welfare benefits in Minnesota are too generous, not generous enough, or about right. The results are mixed. While 34 percent of Minnesotans say they are too generous, 14 percent think they are not generous enough, and a plurality of 39 percent say they are about right. So, despite currently high levels of welfare benefits in the state, 53 percent of Minnesotans think they are about right, or should be even higher.
Twin Cities crime has been in the news lately. Minnesotans believe that Twin Cities crime is increasing—57 percent say it is rising, compared with only 4 percent who think it is declining. Whether this perception is due to experience or newspaper headlines is unclear. In any event, Minnesotans are definitely worried about violent crime. Seventy-six percent say they are concerned about violent crime, while only 23 percent say they are not. Twin Cities women (84 percent) and Twin Cities residents aged 55 and up (86 percent) express the highest levels of concern.
One of the stranger stories in the news recently was a decision from the Minnesota Court of Appeals that reversed the grant of a permit by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to a dairy farmer to expand the size of his herd. The court held that the MPCA had not adequately taken into effect the impact of the larger dairy herd on the Earth’s climate. Most Minnesotans don’t think this logic makes sense; 63 percent oppose “the use of carbon dioxide emissions as a reason to block agricultural development.” Perhaps the more surprising finding is that 27 percent say they do support blocking ag development on account of climate concerns.
In the upcoming session, legislation will be introduced to allow grocery and convenience stores to sell wine and beer. The Thinking Minnesota Poll finds that this proposal is popular, with 58 percent in favor, and 33 percent opposed.
And, finally, the most one-sided finding in this month’s survey. We asked:
As you may have heard, Minnesota’s Department of Human Services has had a series of scandals involving multiple instances of fraud, waste, and mismanagement in the Department. Based on what you know, do you SUPPORT or OPPOSE legislation requiring an audit of the Department of Human Services’ spending?
An overwhelming 90 percent support legislation requiring an audit of DHS, 71 percent strongly, with only 8 percent opposed.
John Hinderaker is President of Center of the American Experiment.