The crowds at the 2012 Minnesota State Fair gave the Legislature a chance to really find out what the public really thnks of some of the touchiest issues they tackled this year.
The House Public Information Service polled more than 9,000 fairgoers on issues ranging from fireworks to child custody to constitutional law -- including a number of issues that the Republican-controlled Hosue passed, but Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed.
In many cases, the unscientific poll found the public as divided on hot-button issues as state government itself.
Should MInnesota legalize fireworks? The Legislature approved the idea, but Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the bill. The survey found the public split on the issue -- 47.8 percent in favor of the idea, 45 percent opposed and 7 percent undecided.
Asked whether Minnesota should impose a sales tax on books, movies and other digital goods downloaded from the internet, 47 percent said yes, while 44.6 percent said no.
Other issues were a lot more lopsided. More than 71 percent of fairgoers polled said schools should be allowed to make layoff decisions based on teachers' performance evaluations, rather than simply on seniority as they do now, while 20 percent opposed the change, which the Legislature passed, but the governor vetoed.
Only 26 percent favored the idea of changing child custody laws to ensure that both barents are guaranteed at least a 45.1 percent share of custody time. Another 45.5 percent opposed the idea and 27.7 percent were undecided. Dayton vetoed a bill that would have changed the child custody formula.
Some 63 percent of fairgoers favor Sunday liquor sales in Minnesota, while 29.9 percent oppose relaxing the Blue Laws. The Legislature has been quashing Sunday liquor sale bills for years.
Should motorcyclists be required to wear helmets? Some states have repealed their helmet laws, but 69.9 percent of fairgoers say helmets should remain mandatory in Minnesota, while 25 percent called for repeal.
And with two proposed constitutional amendments on the November ballot, 53 percent said they would favor a change in the law that would require more than a simple majority to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot, while 36 percent oppose the idea.
2012 State Fair Poll Results