MPR/Humphrey Institute Poll: Political attitudes

Minnesota Public Radio
May 20, 2010

Below are results of a poll conducted by Minnesota Public Radio News and the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota on voters' attitudes toward government, as well as reaction to the tea party's influence in Minnesota. Click here to see the poll results concerning the governor's race.

You can read the full report of this portion of the poll here, as well as Mark Zdechlik's follow-up report.

Attitudes toward government

The general reaction of respondents toward government is hostility and suspicion. Eight out of 10 trust government "never" or "only some of the time." Solid majorities believe that the federal government has too much power (55 percent) and would prefer to shrink its role and have fewer services (61 percent). A narrow plurality (48 percent) believes that President Barack Obama is moving the country toward socialism.

Government trust: How much of the time do you think you can trust the government in Washington to do what is right? (Note: "Don't know/refused" omitted as they made up less than 1 percent of the sample.)

Government power: Which one of the following statements comes closest to your views about governmental power today?

Government services: If you had to choose, would you rather have a smaller government providing fewer services, or a bigger government providing more services?

Obama policies: Do you think President Obama's policies are moving the country more toward socialism, or are his policies not moving the country in that direction?

The tea party

The tea party movement is supported by 20 percent of Minnesotans, but it has also triggered a counteraction. More respondents say they oppose the tea party movement than support it. and do so a bit more intensely. Far more believe that tea partiers do not reflect the view of most Americans than do, and a greater share indicate that they are less likely to vote for a candidate supported by the tea party movement than more likely.

About the survey

This survey is a collaboration between Minnesota Public Radio News and the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. The survey was analyzed by the center. The research team was Lawrence R. Jacobs, center director, and Joanne M. Miller, associate professor, Department of Political Science. Geoff Sheagley provided research assistance.

The survey of 701 Minnesota adults was conducted May 13-May 16, 2010, following the three major parties' endorsing conventions. The margin of error is +/-5.8 percentage points. For smaller subgroups, the margin of sampling error is larger.

The distribution of party identification among adults in the full sample is as follows: