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State Fair poll: Support grows for marijuana legalization, sports gambling

House Photography file photo
House Photography file photo

Support for the legalization of recreational marijuana and sports gambling appears to be on the rise, at least among attendees of the 2022 Minnesota State Fair.

A majority of those (61.4%) who responded to the annual House of Representatives State Fair Opinion Poll indicated they support allowing the recreational use of marijuana by those age 21 and over, while 30.2% oppose legalization and 8.4% are undecided or have no opinion on the issue.

That is a slight bump in support among fairgoers as, when the same question was asked in 2021, 58.3% said they favor legalization and 34.1% were against it.

Conducted by the nonpartisan House Public Information Services Office, the poll is an informal, unscientific survey of issues discussed in prior legislative sessions and that may again be topics of discussion in 2023. This year’s poll was taken by 7,110 fairgoers, a significant increase from 2021, when 5,231 people took the poll, reflecting the overall increase in attendance at this year’s fair.

2022 MN State Fair opinion poll results

Polltakers also expressed support for legalization and regulation of gambling on professional and collegiate sports, with 44.2% in favor, 40% opposed and 15.8% undecided. That is also an increase from the 2021 poll, when that same question found 40.7% of polltakers in favor, 40.3% opposed, and 19% undecided.

The 12-question poll also found wide support for increasing the penalties for those who disrupt youth sporting events (84.4% in favor), exempting all Social Security benefits from state taxes (77.5% in support) and requiring high school students to take a civics and personal finance class in order to graduate (90% in favor).

But the majority of respondents (57.2%) are opposed to establishing a school voucher system that would allow parents to choose the public or private school their child attends with state money following the child, with 32.8% in favor of the proposal.   

The majority of polltakers also support:

  • requiring anyone operating a boat or personal watercraft to complete a safety course and receive a permit;
  • paying newly hired police officers a bonus of up to $10,000 if they successfully complete their first year on the job;
  • replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day as a state holiday;
  • creation of an permanent absentee voter registration list; and
  • allowing businesses to install and manage charging stations for electric vehicles at interstate highway rest areas.

Here are the final results of the 2022 House of Representatives State Fair Poll. All percentages are rounded to the nearest one-tenth (totals are for those who actually voted on the question): 


1. Should an individual who disrupts a youth athletic event, or inflicts demonstrable bodily harm on a sports official performing his or her duties during the event, be subject to a fine of up to $1,000?

Yes — 84.4% (5,901 votes)

No — 5.9% (415)

Undecided/No Opinion — 9.7% (674)


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

Yes — 44.2% (3,084)

No — 40% (2,797)

Undecided/No Opinion — 15.8% (1,107)


3. Should anyone who operates a boat or personal watercraft in the state be required to complete a safety course and receive a permit?

Yes — 70.7% (4,965)

No — 21.3% (1,493)

Undecided/No Opinion — 8% (564)


4. Should the state pay newly hired police officers a bonus of up to $10,000 if they successfully complete their first year on the job?

Yes — 42.8% (2,994)

No — 35.6% (2,489)

Undecided/No Opinion — 21.6% (1,515)


5. Should all Social Security benefits be exempt from state taxation?

Yes — 77.5% (5,434)

No — 12.8% (895)

Undecided/No Opinion — 9.7% (679)


6. Should the state replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day as a state holiday?

Yes — 59.1% (4,144)

No — 30% (2,103)

Undecided/No Opinion — 10.9% (762)


7. 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 can then choose the school their child attends, whether public or private?

Yes — 32.8% (2,292)

No — 57.2% (3,993)

Undecided/No Opinion — 10% (696)


8. Should Minnesota allow the recreational use of marijuana by persons age 21 and over?

Yes — 61.4% (4,312)

No — 30.2% (2,116)

Undecided/No Opinion — 8.4% (590)


9. Should a permanent absentee voter registration list be created that would allow voters who sign up to always have an absentee ballot mailed to them prior to each election?

Yes — 54.1% (3,780)

No — 34.9% (2,441)

Undecided/No Opinion — 11% (768)


10. Should eligible high school seniors receive conditional admission to the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities rather than having to complete an application process?

Yes — 51.4% (3,590)

No — 34.4% (2,404)

Undecided/No Opinion — 14.2% (996)


11. Should businesses be allowed to install and manage electric vehicle charging stations at interstate highway rest stops to help expand the charging infrastructure throughout the state?

Yes — 74.6% (5,216)

No — 13.8% (968)

Undecided/No Opinion — 11.6% (810)


12. Should high school students be required to take a civics and personal finance class in order to graduate?

Yes — 90% (6,322)

No — 5.7% (399)

Undecided/No Opinion — 4.3% (304)

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