Poll: Minnesotans disapprove of Twin Cities vaccine mandates

The poll results marked the first time Gov. Tim Walz's approval rating for how he's handled the COVID pandemic fell below 50%.

Close up view of blurred COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card by CDC in hand. (Evgenia Parajanian/iStock)

New poll data shows that a significant plurality of Minnesotans disapprove of COVID vaccine and testing mandates.

A survey conducted by KSTP/SurveyUSA interviewed 690 Minnesota adults in late January, asking them their opinions on the vaccines, boosters, mandates, and how President Joe Biden and Gov. Tim Walz have handled the pandemic.

Slightly more Minnesotans disagree (48%) with Minneapolis and St. Paul’s requirement to show proof of vaccination (or negative test) prior to entering bars, restaurants, and other venues than those who agree (46%).

81% of those who disagreed with the requirement disagreed “strongly,” while only 60% of those who agreed with the requirement agreed strongly. The results of this particular question were virtually identical between Minnesotans of both sexes.

51% of those aged 50 or older agreed with the requirement, while 60% of those 65 or older agreed. Unsurprisingly, liberal Democrats (79%) were far more likely to lend some level of support for the passports than conservative Republicans (21%).

“The Minneapolis and St. Paul mandates by the mayors are not terribly popular,” Carleton College political analyst Steven Schier told KSTP. “The business traffic in restaurants is way down in Minneapolis and St. Paul and I don’t think there can be any question that the new rules [requiring] photo ID, vaccine ID and a mask contribute to that.”

The survey also asked Minnesotans if they supported mandatory vaccination of public school students, and the responses differed depending on grade level.

A full 65% opposed mandatory vaccination for elementary school children (kindergarten through fifth grade).

A narrow majority, 54%, opposed it for middle schoolers (sixth through eighth grade); while an even narrower majority, 51%, supported it for high schoolers (ninth through twelfth grade).

KSTP also reported that these poll results marked the first time Gov. Tim Walz’s approval rating for how he’s handled the COVID pandemic fell below 50%. That figure dipped down to 49% — but it remains higher than the 44% who have disapproved of his handling.

Walz told KSTP in response to the data that he’s not made pandemic decisions so they would be “politically favorable, but so they would save lives and be the right decision.” He believes his approval ratings have declined due to “pandemic fatigue.”

Some Minnesotans may also be giving Walz the benefit of the doubt, because President Joe Biden’s approval ratings on the pandemic are not nearly as high as the governor’s. 53% of Minnesotans disapprove of Biden’s handling of the pandemic, in contrast to only 40% who approve.

In fact, slightly more Republicans support Walz’s handling of the pandemic than Biden’s (14% to 10%), as well as slightly more Democrats (87% to 80%). As for independents in Minnesota, nearly two-thirds disapprove of Biden’s handling while 49% disapprove of Walz’s.