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Poll results show fairgoers favor medically assisted suicide, remain divided on sports gambling

More than 8,100 fairgoers voted in this year's informal, unscientific poll conducted by the nonpartisan House Public Information Services Office at the Minnesota State Fair. (Photo by Andrew VonBank)
More than 8,100 fairgoers voted in this year's informal, unscientific poll conducted by the nonpartisan House Public Information Services Office at the Minnesota State Fair. (Photo by Andrew VonBank)

Nearly three-quarters of people who took the 2023 House of Representatives’ State Fair Poll support giving adults with a terminal illness the option to end their life with the assistance of a health care provider.

But opinions on the legalization of gambling on college and professional sports remain closely divided with 40% of respondents in favor and 43.6% against sports wagering. That is a reversal from the 2022 fair poll when the same question found 44.2% in favor of legalized sports gambling and 40% against it.

Conducted by the nonpartisan House Public Information Services Office, the annual poll is an informal, unscientific survey of issues discussed in prior legislative sessions and that may again be topics of discussion in 2024. This year’s poll was taken by 8,144 fairgoers, up from 2022 when 7,110 people took the poll.

2023 House of Representatives State Fair Opinion Poll results

The medical-aid-in-dying question was prompted by HF1930, a bill introduced by Rep. Mike Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley) that would allow terminally ill adults with a prognosis of six months or less to live the option to end their lives with medical assistance under certain circumstances. The poll found 73.2% in favor of the proposal and 18.2% against the idea. The bill awaits action by the House Health Finance and Policy Committee.

The 12-question poll also found the majority of respondents (53%) in favor of the state lifting the current freeze on construction of new nuclear power plants as it works to reach a goal of entirely carbon-free electricity sources by 2040.

Just over 50% of respondents do not favor the state automatically returning excess money to taxpayers if the state has a budget surplus, with 41.6% who would support such a measure.

Opinions of school vouchers remain largely the same among fairgoers, with 57.1% against a system that would allow parents to choose the public or private school their child attends — and state funding going with the student — and 34% in favor of the proposal. Those results are almost the same as last year when the same question found 57.2% against the idea and 32.8% in favor of it.   

The majority of polltakers also support: allowing small farmers to sell raw milk and milk products given certain requirements are met; insurance coverage of hearing aids for everyone; a ban on wolf hunting; and creating an Office of Animal Protection.

Topics not supported by the majority are: allowing trained school staff members to carry a firearm on school grounds; prohibiting the sale of gas-powered lawn and garden equipment; and a prohibition on the sale of water in plastic bottles.

Here are the poll results. (All percentages are rounded to the nearest one-tenth. Totals are for those who actually voted on the question.)

1. Should Minnesota legalize and regulate gambling on professional and collegiate sports? 

Yes — 40% (3,189)

No — 43.6 % (3,474)

Undecided/No Opinion — 16.4% (1,309)

2. If a school staffer has completed active shooter training and received a permit to carry, should they be allowed to carry a firearm on school grounds? 

Yes — 28.6% (2,288)

No — 65.5% (5,238)

Undecided/No Opinion — 5.9% (474)

3. Should the state prohibit manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers from selling water in plastic containers?

Yes — 40% (3,183)

No — 44.9% (3,575)

Undecided/No Opinion — 15.1% (1,204)

4. Should terminally ill adults have the option to end their lives with the assistance of health care providers?

Yes — 73.2% (5,844)

No — 18.2% (1,456)

Undecided/No Opinion — 8.6% (686)

5. To reach its goal of using entirely carbon-free electricity sources by 2040, should the state lift the current freeze on new nuclear power plants?

Yes — 53% (4,200)

No — 26.5% (2,098)

Undecided/No Opinion — 20.5% (1,625)

6. Should the state prohibit the sale of gas-powered lawn and gardening equipment?

Yes — 26.8% (2,137)

No — 61.1% (4,873)

Undecided/No Opinion — 21.1% (964)

7. If the state has a budget surplus, should the excess be automatically returned to taxpayers?

Yes — 41.6% (3,314)

No —50.4% (4,018)

Undecided/No Opinion — 8% (638)

8. Should health insurance plans cover the costs of hearing aids for everyone?

Yes — 84.6% (6,738)

No — 8.4% (666)

Undecided/No Opinion — 7% (556)

9. Should small farmers be allowed to sell raw milk and raw milk products such as butter, cheese and ice cream to consumers provided certain safety requirements are met?

Yes — 73.6% (5,873)

No — 16.6% (1,324)

Undecided/No Opinion — 9.8% (778)

10. Should the state prohibit wolf hunting?

Yes — 48.7% (3,867)

No — 30.6% (2,430)

Undecided/No Opinion — 20.7% (1,639)

11. Should a school voucher system be established whereby the state issues parents a voucher equal to the state's cost of educating a child for a year and parents choose the school their child attends, whether public or private?

Yes — 34% (2,708)

No — 57.1% (4,553)

Undecided/No Opinion — 8.9% (711)

12. To ensure authorities are properly prepared to deal with animal cruelty crimes and enforce animal cruelty statutes, should the state create an Office of Animal Protection?

Yes — 59% (4,713)

No — 26.6% (2,127)

Undecided/No Opinion — 14.4% (1,149)

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