Monday, May 16, 2011

Happy to Have Someone Else Pay for a Better Minnesota

You always have to love the Minnesota Poll, because it's nothing if not reliable. Brian Lambert at MinnPost is all aflutter about the results that apparently show that Minnesotans would love some tax increases:

Grover Norquist, the high priest of the "No New Taxes" pledge, may need to buy the state GOP some new polling data. The Strib’s Minnesota Poll, released Sunday, showed that by more than a 2-to-1 margin, voters prefer a mix of spending cuts and tax increases rather than the GOP’s all-cuts concept.
I wasn't aware that Grover Norquist was involved in the current debate, but we'll let that pass for the moment. Man, we really love us some new taxes, apparently.

But do we, really? From the Star Tribune article Lambert cites, a few things that might make you wonder.

Dayton's proposal to raise taxes on high earners has substantial, but far from universal, support. Overall, 39 percent say their first preference is raising taxes on high earners.

A slightly smaller number, 37 percent, want lawmakers to look first at raising taxes on alcohol and cigarettes. Twelve percent of respondents prefer increasing fees for government services.

Any legislator hoping to introduce a last-minute proposal to raise the sales tax, take note: Just 7 percent of Minnesotans prefer that idea.

In other words, the Minnesotans polled like the idea of making someone else pay for government largesse. This is news?

What's perhaps a little more useful are the internals of the poll. Betcha didn't know that only 24% of Minnesotans consider themselves Republicans.

Results for the question about the best approach to solving the budget deficit -- primarily through service reductions or through a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts -- are based on interviews with 548 of the 806 respondents. The question was reasked in follow-up calls to all respondents because of a problem in the original wording of the question, and 548 of the respondents were reached. Results of a poll based on 548 interviews will vary by no more than 5.7 percentage points, plus or minus, from the overall population 95 times out of 100.

The self-identified party affiliation for that group is 35 percent Democrat, 24 percent Republican and 35 percent independent. 
It's a wonder that the Republicans have any legislators at all in Minnesota, given those numbers. Yet somehow the Republicans, through some sort of Jedi mind trick or something, control both house of the Minnesota Legislature. It's deeply puzzling.

Just a guess -- the DFL knows full well that these numbers are, well, craptastic. But they'll let the Star Tribune and Brian Lambert go ahead and tell you that it's all true and real. Because the views of 548 adults (not voters, Mr. Lambert, just adults) ought to rule public policy discussions.

1 comment:

W.B. Picklesworth said...

I'm happy to declare that I no longer share a state with such fools. On the other hand, Tom Harkin is one of my senators. You win some; you lose some.