A blog to keep current on MPIRG'S fight for social and environmental justice.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New Poll: College students overwhelmingly oppose proposed marriage amendment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                    June 26, 2012
Contact: Josh Winters, Executive Director: 612-205-6564, josh@mpirg.org
 Matthew Fredericks, MPIRG Student: 651-303-4814, frede315@morris.umn.edu

New Poll: College students overwhelmingly oppose proposed marriage amendment
Minneapolis, MN – According to a new poll commissioned by the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG), 73.3% of college students in Minnesota are likely to vote no on the proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman in the state constitution.  “We were confident that a significant majority of young people were on the right side of this issue and this just confirms it,” said Emma Wright, University of Minnesota Senior and Chair of MPIRG.  “Our next step is making sure that students have what they need to get to their polling location and vote on Election Day.”
The poll also asked students how they would vote on the proposed constitutional amendment requiring photo identification to vote.  53.7% of the students surveyed were likely to vote yes with 34% likely to vote no, and 12.3% unsure how they will vote on that question. “I think these numbers are encouraging,” said Josh Winters, MPIRG Executive Director.  “We knew we had an uphill battle on Voter I.D. given the seemingly innocuous nature of the question.  Perhaps most importantly, we found that when those polled were then informed of how difficult Voter I.D. would make voting for students, seniors, and military members, over 70% believed that was a compelling reason to oppose it.”
According to the poll, 70.9% of students do not have a Minnesota Driver’s License or State I.D. with their current college residence address on it.  Despite the unclear language of the amendment, statements made and legislation drafted by the amendment’s authors suggest that its passage would require these students to obtain new identification in order to vote in the districts where they live.  “We have more than 50,000 students at the U of M Twin Cities campus alone which means more than 35,000 of them wouldn’t currently have the proper identification to vote,” explained Wright.  Only 36.8% of students polled said they would obtain the proper identification before Election Day with 32.3% saying they would cast a provisional ballot, and 18.7% of poll respondents saying they just wouldn’t vote at all.
With Minnesota’s college students opposing both amendments at significantly greater rates than the general population, student turnout at the polls in November could prove decisive.
Despite high youth unemployment and poor job prospects, students remain optimistic about the direction of the state.  A plurality of college students (46.1%) believe that Minnesota is on the right track with 21.4% believing it’s on the wrong track and 30.4% unsure.  When asked if big business, big labor, or big government was the biggest threat to the country in the future 48.7% of students chose big business, 45.2% chose big government, and 6.1% chose big labor.  These results are a stark contrast to national trends shown by Gallup polls and demonstrate that Minnesota’s students are even more concerned about big business than big government.  Another question indicates that students support a tax system ensuring those with incomes above one million dollars do not pay a lower tax rate than the rest of the population by nearly a 3-to-1 margin (73.3%-26.7%).  “Overall, I think the poll illustrates that college students feel strongly about a variety of pertinent public policy issues,” said Winters.  “Our next step is to educate them on how the Voter I.D. amendment could negatively impact them and mobilize them to vote against both amendments on Election Day.”
MPIRG commissioned the University of Minnesota’s Office of Measurement Services (OMS) to conduct the poll.  OMS surveyed 2,367 students from nine public and private colleges and universities across Minnesota from April 9 to May 4.  The margin of error for the survey is ±2.0%.

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