Smoking in MN: Yes in Bars, No in Restaurants
The public opinion firm SurveyUSA recently released a series of questions asked of a random sample of 500 adults in Minnesota addressing a variety of social public policy issues on the state’s legislative agenda.
Regarding the proposed smoking ban taken up by the legislature this session, a plurality of 41 percent of Minnesotans support a complete ban on smoking in all restaurants and bars across the state. However, 36 percent would only ban smoking in restaurants, and 22 percent would permit smoking in both classes of establishments.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the smoking rate in the Gopher State is just 20.7 percent. Therefore, even though smokers comprise a small minority of the state’s population, a full 58 percent nonetheless believe the state should not intervene on their current right to smoke in bars (note: several cities, including Minneapolis, have instituted smoking bans in restaurants and bars that supercede state regulations).
Minnesota’s smoking rate of 20.7 percent is the 23rd lowest in the United States, just below the national average of 20.9 percent. The rate in other Upper Midwestern states was quite similar to that of Minnesota: South Dakota at 20.3 percent, Iowa at 20.8 percent, and Wisconsin at 22.0 percent. As in most states, more men currently smoke in Minnesota (22.0 percent) than do women (19.5 percent).
That survey result is not backed up by any other polls on the same subject, which is curious.
A single poll result does not a trend make.
That’s quite true. In fact, when MPR / Pioneer Press asked a similar (though more generally worded question) back in May 2004, 52 percent of Minnesotans supported the ban in “most public places including restaurants and bars,” with only 40 percent opposed. However, the danger with that poll is it only offers two choices for respondents. The SurveyUSA poll offers 3 choices and therefore may better represent the true views of the state.
I remember that poll. May 2004 seems like a lifetime ago now. That was when the second big wave of city and county ordinances were being passed.
There is some evidence that a “third wave” of local ordinances is building. Many local officials are quite frustrated at the state’s lack of action on this issue. Olmsted County comes to mind, as does Carlton County and the City of Hutchinson.
One of the more interesting factoids I have gleaned from few polls that ask for respondents political leanings is that Minnesota Republicans favor a comprehensive statewide smoking ban more than any other group.
In any case, I’ll keep an eye on any future polls to see if there really is a trend starting.
> One of the more interesting factoids I have gleaned from few polls that ask for respondents political leanings is that Minnesota Republicans favor a comprehensive statewide smoking ban more than any other group.
Actually, in the SurveyUSA poll, the support for a ban on both restaurants and bars was much higher among Democrats (49%) and independents (41%) than Republicans (35%). Though more independents (30%) want smoking permitted in both, compared to the GOP (18%) and Democrats (17%).
Yet another reason to wonder, as two previous surveys had suggested the opposite.
In any case, it is the Republicans and Democrats in the House, Senate and Governor’s Office who have the ball now. The bill clearly has bipartisan suport, as well as some bipartisan opposition.
The Governor has signalled his intention to sign the bill, no doubt that should carry some weight on both sides of the aisle.
Who commissioned this SurveyUSA poll? I doubt this poll was conducted by SurveyUSA without someone footing the bill. Just wondering since both RJR Nabisco Inc. and Philip Morris Companies, Inc. are among the corporate clients of SurveyUSA. Maybe someone would like to do some investigative journalism and find out who paid to have this survey conducted.
The poll sponsor was actually KSTP-TV Minneapolis.
smking is rong it destuse themself and other peole to