Are the State Fair poll results significant?

Sixty-six percent of people answering the annual House of Representatives State Fair survey say Minnesotans should not ban same-sex marriage when they vote on a constitutional amendment in November 2012.

There’s nothing scientific about the survey, although some other staunchly conservative positions had support in the same survey. (Following is corrected info) Take the voter ID question, for example. Nearly 50.8% percent of those surveyed supported requiring people to show a photo ID before voting, but that’s down significantly from the last two years (about 70%). Has there been a shift in the sentiment on the issue, or was this year a somewhat more liberal crowd?

A fairly large majority also called for making Minnesota a “right to work” state.

But it doesn’t appear the same-sex marriage survey has been included in other recent State Fair surveys, so it’s difficult to determine whether there’s been any shift one way or the other.

Does any of this make a difference at the Legislature? There’s no indication it does, but it may be a fairly accurate reflection on how Minnesota votes.

Here are the highlights of previous surveys, some of which predicted the future; some of which did not.

2010: 66.4 percent said the public should not fund a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings. That was a slight increase over the previous year.

2009: A slight majority — 47.5% — said the state lawmakers should cut its budget before raising taxes in times of economic distress. A year later, Republicans swept into power at the Legislature by promoting the philosophy.

2008: A slight majority — 49% — said the sales tax should be increased to fund environmental and arts programs. A few months later, voters passed the so-called Legacy Amendment 56-to-39 percent.

2007: About 58% said the gasoline tax should be raised to pay for transportation programs. Five months later, the Legislature raised the gasoline tax over the objection of then-governor Tim Pawlenty.

2006: 57% said immigrant students who are not here legally should not get the in-state tuition rate at state colleges and universities.

2005: 57.% said ticket scalping should not be legalized in Minnesota. A year-and-a-half later, Minnesota lawmakers legalized ticket scalping.

2004: 59% said smoking should be banned in restaurants and bars. In 2007, the Legislature banned smoking in bars and restaurants.

2003: 60.8% said the education budget should not be cut during times of financial distress. Lawmakers and governors have made delaying funds to K-12 education a cornerstone of their budget-balancing plans since.