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Minnesota Poll: Mixed views on vaccine mandates, majority support masks in schools

The KARE 11/MPR News/Star Tribune/FRONTLINE Minnesota Poll found a large majority of Minnesota voters say they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

MINNESOTA, USA — Minnesota voters have varying views on vaccine requirements, but a majority are in support of mask usage in schools, according to the results of a new KARE 11/MPR News/Star Tribune/FRONTLINE Minnesota Poll.

The poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, interviewed 800 registered voters across the state of Minnesota between Sept. 13-15. The poll has a standard +/- 3.5% margin of error.

WHO'S VACCINATED

The Minnesota Poll found 80% of those surveyed said they've personally received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, compared to 18% who said they have not, and 2% who did not answer.

The 80% who reported being vaccinated is slightly higher than current CDC data for Minnesotans age 18 or older. The CDC reported a 75.9% vaccination rate for Minnesota as of Sept. 17.

The poll found a majority of Minnesotans have been vaccinated across all demographic groups, with more women saying they've been vaccinated (84%) than men (75%). Vaccinations were also relatively even across age groups with poll participants over the age of 65 reporting the highest percentage of vaccinations (83%) when compared to people 18-34 (82%), 35-49 (80%) or 50-64 (75%).

Credit: KARE

Responses showed more vaccinations in Hennepin and Ramsey counties (86%) than metro suburbs (78%), southern Minnesota (80%) and northern Minnesota (73%).

Democrats reported the most vaccinations (91% vaccinated vs. 9% unvaccinated), compared to Republicans (77% vaccinated vs. 22% unvaccinated) and those who identified as Independent (69% vaccinated vs. 26% unvaccinated).

VACCINE CONFIDENCE

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Most Minnesotans appear to be at least somewhat confident that current COVID-19 vaccines will protect them against new variants of the virus. Thirty-one percent of those polled said they felt "very confident" in their protection with the vaccine, compared to 41% who said they're "somewhat confident," 13% who said they're "not too confident" and 13% who said they're "not at all confident."

Democrats tended to be most confident in the vaccine (46% very confident, 36% somewhat confident, 14% not too confident, 3% not at all confident) compared to Republicans (23% very confident, 42% somewhat confident, 16% not too confident, 16% not at all confident) and independents (22% very confident, 46% somewhat confident, 8% not too confident, 21% not at all confident).

COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS

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More pronounced political divisions were found when pollsters asked about restrictions put into place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The Minnesota Poll found 30% of those surveyed felt restrictions went too far, while 26% thought the restrictions did not go far enough. About 43% of respondents said the restrictions were "about right."

Along political lines, more Republicans (46%) and independents (40%) felt restrictions went too far, compared to just 8% of Democrats who felt that way. Democrats were more likely to say the restrictions did not go far enough (53%), compared to Republicans (2%) and independents (17%). However, Republicans (52%) and independents (40%) were also more likely to say the restrictions were "about right" than Democrats (38%).

Shannon Rosati, a voter from Hopkins, said she felt more confident in the restrictions put in place last year. "This year, I don't think they’ve gone far enough, because now we’re starting to see those waves happen," said Rosati.

"But there's such a hesitancy to put any restrictions in place now because there’s such a backlash that has occurred over the last year. I really felt like we did a nice job, we were getting on top of things, and then this year, I think there's more that we can do."

VACCINE MANDATES FOR EVENTS

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The poll found somewhat mixed results when respondents were asked about a variety of hypothetical vaccine requirements.

When asked whether they would support or oppose a requirement for people to be vaccinated in order to attend large events such as concerts, sports or movies, 49% said they would support such restrictions, while 45% said they oppose such a requirement.

Support on this question was highest in Hennepin and Ramsey counties (69%), with majorities opposed in the metro suburbs (53%), southern Minnesota (50%) and northern Minnesota (57%).

Women were more likely to support vaccine requirements at large events (62%) than men (34%), and Democrats were overwhelmingly in support (84%) when compared to Republicans (14%) and independents (43%).

VACCINES IN BARS & RESTAURANTS

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Poll respondents were less supportive of a hypothetical vaccine requirement for bars and restaurants, with just 44% in support and 50% opposed.

Once again, support on this question was higher among women (57%) than men (29%), and among Democrats (81%) than Republicans (9%) or independents (35%).

VACCINES TO RETURN TO WORK

Credit: KARE

The Minnesota Poll found 43% of those surveyed support vaccine requirements to return to the workplace, compared to 49% in opposition.

Support for this hypothetical requirement was still in a majority for women (56%) and Democrats (77%), but slipped slightly compared to the other questions.

MASKS IN K-12 SCHOOLS

Credit: KARE

The poll found a majority of Minnesotans would support mask requirements for teachers and students in K-12 schools. Fifty-nine percent of those polled said they support masks in schools, with 35% opposed and 6% undecided.

Masks had majority support across the state, with the highest numbers once again in Hennepin and Ramsey counties (71%), followed by 54% support in the metro suburbs, 58% support in southern Minnesota, and 50% support in northern Minnesota (with 42% opposed in that region, and 8% undecided).

Women were highly supportive of masks in schools (72%) while men were split virtually down the middle (46% support, 47% oppose).

"Have the teachers get vaccinated, anybody over 20 years old, 18 years old get vaccinated, but don't make the kids sit there for eight hours a day and not be able to smile and not be able to see anything other than people's eyes," said Kevin Thomson, a voter from Hugo.

Democrats overwhelmingly support mandated masks in schools in the poll (92% vs. 4% opposed) while a majority of Republicans opposed the idea (32% in support, 61% opposed). Independents were evenly split at 47% in support and in opposition.

METHODOLOGY

This poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, Inc. of Jacksonville, Florida from September 13 through September 15, 2021. A total of 800 registered Minnesota voters were interviewed live by telephone statewide.

Those interviewed were randomly selected from a phone-matched Minnesota voter registration list that included both land-line and cell phone numbers.

Quotas were assigned to reflect voter registration by county.

The margin for error, according to standards customarily used by statisticians, is no more than ± 3.5 percentage points. This means that there is a 95 percent probability that the "true" figure would fall within that range if all voters were surveyed. The margin for error is higher for any subgroup, such as a gender or age grouping.