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Exit poll shows strong support for local sales tax

November 6, 2012
Marshall Independent

The Southwest Minnesota State University Political Science class conducted an exit poll Tuesday that included 553 surveys in 16 precincts at 10 locations in Lyon County and cities, including Marshall, Balaton, Tracy, Cottonwood and Minneota.

The poll was set up in three phases: from 7-10 a.m., noon-2 p.m. and from 4-5 p.m. There were also three separate surveys - one for Marshall, one for the northern half of Lyon County and one for the southern portion of Lyon County.

Among the issues covered in the survey was the local sales tax option in Marshall, which enjoyed broadly-based support, winning strong approval from nearly every group measured, including age, marital status and number of children under 18 living at home. The taxes - a .5 percent sales tax and 1.5% hospitality tax - would go toward the construction and operation of a proposed $12.9 million regional amateur sports facility and expansion of the MERIT Training Center.

"For this, a 50-point lead is considerable," said SMSU senior Joe Strechma, a political science/public administration double major. "Even if it turns out to be 60-40 it's still an early sign of support." Strechma said the students received a better response from voters Tuesday than they did two years ago, when about 400 surveys were taken.

Patterns from party affiliation and level of education illustrate the breadth of support for the tax:

Yes No

Democrats 76% 24%

Republicans73 27

Up to and including "some college" 67 33

Four-year degree 66 34

Beyond four-year degree 84 16

Other results from the exit poll:

Party loyalty for President and State Senate:

PRESIDENT GOP: Romney 95, Obama 4

Dems: Obama 93, Romney 6

No Party: Obama 58, Romney 38

STATE SENATE GOP: Dahms 95, Suss 5

Dems: Suss 83, Dahms 17

No Party: Suss 62, Dahms 38

-- The "gender gap," whereby men are more likely to vote Republican than women, was somewhat wider in 2012 presidential voting than in 2008:

Obama Romney Obama McCain

Men 41 56 56 40

Women60 40 67 32

-- Religious attendance continues to be a strong predictor of whether one votes Republican or Democratic:

Obama Romney

Weekly 37 60

Monthly 51 49

Occasionally 65 35

Rarely or never 68 30

-- Voters' top issue concerns shaped their vote for President as follows:

Obama Romney

Budget deficit 17 81

Foreign policy 77 19

Health care 76 22

Jobs and economy 47 50

Other 55 36

-- Opinions on the abortion issue again strongly matched partisan voting. They were much better predictors of voting choice than age, education or sex:

Obama Romney Dahms Suss

Pro-choice 71 29 32 68

Pro-life25 75 76 24

Marriage Amendment

Divisions over the Marriage Amendment were especially apparent with respect to political party, frequency of religious attendance, and opinions on abortion:

Yes No

Democrat 21 79

Republican 86 14


Monthly 4753


Rarely or never 2377

Pro-choice 2476

Pro-life 8218

Lesser but still notable splits occurred along the lines of age, sex and marital status:



55 + 5446

Male 5644




There was also a strong correlation between voting on the Marriage and Voter ID amendments:

Yes on Voter ID7921

No on Voter ID2476

Margin of error for the exit poll is +/- 4.1%.



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