Secretary of State Mark Ritchie speaking at the DFL State Convention about photo ID. Photo: Aaron Klemz
by Tony Petrangelo
Sep 24, 2012, 7:00 AM

The Minnesota Poll Returns

On Sunday the StarTribune dropped the Minnesota poll, which is what they call it when they do a poll. As is the thing to do they released only the results on the two constitutional amendments on the ballot this fall, with the horse-race numbers still to come.

We’ll begin with the Photo Voter ID results:

Mason-Dixon (9/23, 5/12/11 in parenthesis):

The November ballot will include several proposed constitutional amendments. One asks “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to require all voters to present valid photo identification to vote and to require the state to provide free identification to eligible voters, effective July 1, 2013?”

If the election were held today, would you vote:
Yes 52 (80)
No 44 (18)
Undecided 4 (2)
(MoE: ±3.5%)

Now right off the bat, those trend lines are a mirage as it’s not really proper to compare the two polls. There are a number of reasons for this.

The prior poll was taken over a year ago, during the last legislative session when photo voter ID was but a bill awaiting a gubernatorial veto. This was before the issue was put on the ballot, and before the court battle over it this summer. And before the Minnesota State Fair!

Also, the question asked didn’t refer to a constitutional amendment, but rather was a more general question presenting the issue as conceptual.

Please tell me if you would favor or oppose … requiring Minnesota voters to show a photo ID in order to vote.

And if you needed another reason to discard the trend lines here it is; the StarTribune is using an entirely new pollster to do the polling. They used to use Princeton Survey Research Associates and they are now using Mason-Dixon.

So in reality it wasn’t a 28 point drop in support since the last poll, or at least we can’t compare the trend lines and say that it was.

So why did I format the poll as if those were trend lines? For effect!

While being down 52-44 in itself isn’t great, it is the best spread we’ve seen in any poll so far. 52% in favor is the lowest amount of support we’ve seen yet, and 44% opposed is the largest amount of opposition we’ve seen.

This is either one of two things happening, momentum is building in opposition, or this poll is at the outer fringes of the possible spread in the same way that the recent SurveyUSA poll was on the outer fringe in the other direction.

The results of the question on the marriage amendment though lead me to believe that the SurveyUSA poll is probably the outlier.

Mason-Dixon (9/23, 11/8/11 in parenthesis):

Another amendment on the November ballot asks “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as marriage in Minnesota?”

If the election were held today, would you vote:
Yes 49 (48)
No 47 (43)
Undecided 4 (8)
(MoE: ±3.5%)

Like with the photo voter ID amendment, I’ve included trend lines, even though there are some differences between the polls (like different pollsters!) that render the trend lines obsolete.

Unlike with the voter ID amendment, where we are seeing a lot of movement, this poll is basically a re-enforcement of the status quo.

It’s harder to make a case that the results of this poll are outliers when their marriage numbers fall right into line with everything else we’ve seen recently, except for maybe that SurveyUSA poll.

People’s feelings about the marriage amendment seem pretty much baked in at this point, with a few undecideds left who will decide it. People’s feelings about the Photo Voter ID amendment however seem to be evolving.

The interactive polling charts used in this post can be found on our 2012 Elections Resource page, where you can find other election related content as well.

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