Veteran political reporter Tom Hauser was chastised in December by at least one state representative when he correctly pointed out that all but one recent poll showed opposition to a gas tax increase.
Hauser said at the time that “nearly ever poll,” with the exception of one Star Tribune poll, showed that a majority or plurality of Minnesotans opposed an increase in the state’s gas tax, as The Minnesota Sun reported. He noted that “every KSTP/SurveyUSA poll in the last 15 years” found opposition to an increase.
Polling has continued to confirm Hauser’s analysis. A late April poll from the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the Minnesota Business Partnership found that 65 percent of Minnesotans oppose Gov. Tim Walz’s proposed 20-cent gas tax hike.
Now, a new poll conducted for the Center of the American Experiment by Meeting Street Research has found similar results. The poll, published in the latest issue of Thinking Minnesota, found that 60 percent of Minnesotans oppose the 20-cent increase, and 45 percent are strongly opposed.
Just 35 percent of respondents said they support the increase, and an even smaller 17 percent “strongly” support it.
The 20-cent increase, which was approved Monday by the Minnesota House, would raise the gas tax from 28.5 cents per gallon to 48.5 cents per gallon. That’s a 70 percent increase that would take Minnesota’s gas tax from being the 24th highest in the country to the fourth highest.
Even in the Twin Cities, respondents opposed the increase by a margin of 47 percent to 45 percent.
“Perhaps most alarming for Walz’s legislative strategists is that Independents reject the gas tax by 59 percent to 34 percent. It is the rare policy initiative that can survive the intensity of such opposition,” Rob Autry writes in Thinking Minnesota.
The good news for Walz is that voters still view him favorably. The poll found that 50 percent of Minnesotans have a favorable opinion of the first-term governor, while just 28 percent view him unfavorably.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Tom Hauser” by KSTP.