New Poll Shows Minnesotans Want Action to Address Systemic Racism & COVID-19

August 20, 2020

Overwhelming support for bold policy solutions to address systemic racism surfaces as a top priority. Coronavirus is a close second.

In the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing protest movement, a recent poll commissioned by the State Innovation Exchange (SiX) and conducted by TargetSmart shows Minnesota voters hold deep concerns over systemic racism, COVID impacts on elections, and economic barriers. 

Voters See Expanded Role for Government in Addressing Crisis

In an open ended question Minnesotans cited racism, injustice and police brutality as a top concern (26%), followed closely by the COVID pandemic (19%). Voters see the state government playing a major role during this crisis in the following areas: 

  • Safely and fairly administering elections (89%);
  • Ensuring equal access to high-quality K-12 education (86%);
  • Ensuring struggling families and children have access to food (82%);
  • Stopping the spread of the coronavirus (79%);
  • Ensuring access to affordable health care (77%); 
  • Equal pay for equal work (76%);
  • State government should have a role in addressing systemic racism (67%); and
  • Reducing barriers that stop Black people from voting (65%).

Voters Support Steps to Ensure Safe and Accessible Elections

Although voting in-person on Election Day remains the most popular option (56%), a sizable portion of Minnesota voters report that they will vote by mail (32%), and just a few indicate they plan on voting early in-person (11%). 

Whether or not they are choosing to vote in person or by mail, voters supported policies to ensure the election is safe and accessible for all eligible voters:

  • Open additional polling locations to reduce crowds and lines (85%);
  • Allow voters to cast their ballot at any polling location in their county (60%);
  • Count mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day, but received after (63%); and
  • Immediately notify voters if there is a problem with their mail-in ballot (86%).

Voters Concerned about COVID Impact on Unemployment and Strongly Support Bold Economic Policies

By a nearly three-to-one margin, Minnesota voters want state governments to invest in its residents to ensure they are safe, healthy, and economically secure (56%) rather than the state keeping taxes low and cutting funds to key services like education, infrastructure, and unemployment insurance (20%).

Nearly 4-in-10 Minnesota respondents reported they have been laid-off or had their hour cut (39%). Voters express grave concerns about small business closures (85%) and losing work and income (84%). Minnesotans also believe businesses should be required to provide safe working conditions or be penalized for negligence if workers get sick (50%).

Given the current crisis, Minnesotans support policies that will address the economic hardships being faced by many:

  • Providing low-interest loans to small businesses to help them make it through the crisis (95%);
  • Banning the practice of surprise medical billing (92%);
  • Limiting what drug companies can charge for prescription drugs (90%);
  • Offering people in Minnesota the option to buy into the same public health insurance plans that are available to state employees if they want to (88%); 
  • Extending the grace period for people to pay health insurance bills before their coverage can be canceled (88%);
  • Creating an insurance plan to provide paid family and medical leave for employees (79%); and
  • Requiring workplaces to provide paid sick days to their employees (78%).

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