MEMORANDUM

TO: FROM: INTERESTED PARTIES ROB AUTRY & LORI WEIGEL / PUBLIC OPINION STRATEGIES DAVE METZ / FAIRBANK, MASLIN, MAULLIN, METZ & ASSOCIATES (FM3) DATE: RE: JANUARY 17, 2013 KEY FINDINGS FROM A SURVEY OF MINNESOTA VOTERS ON PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

For the second consecutive year, the bipartisan research team of Public Opinion Strategies (R) and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (D) are pleased to present the key findings from a survey of seven hundred voters throughout Minnesota, including 400 voters in the Twin Cities metro region, conducted January 6-8, 2013. The study has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3.7% for the statewide data (4.9% margin of error for the metro region). Margins of error for sub-groups vary depending on the size of that group.

KEY FINDINGS
1. Minnesotans say the state would benefit from expanded and improved public transportation. ■ It doesn’t matter what political persuasion ■ you are, what part of the state you reside in, or whether you have a two minute commute or a two hour commute; there is widespread agreement that Statewide: Minnesota would benefit from expanded and improved public transportation.

■ ■

Question: “Minnesota would benefit from 2012: 76% having an expanded and improved public transportation system, such as rail and buses.” (79% agree, 18% disagree).

2013:

79%

■  This view is steady through time. A 2012 survey of Minnesota voters (by the same team) found that 76% of voters agreed; in 2010, 77%.

93% 78%
 This view is shared across the state:        Hennepin/Ramsey Collar

62% Agree
84% 76%

Disagree 13% 22%

A South

majority of voters across 21% political spectrum the 75% West-Northwest 74% 32% 20% believe public transit benefits Minnesota.
Northeast

81% 16% Benefit From Expanded and Improved Public Transit System 18% By Party and Region This view is shared by voters across parties:
93% 78% 62%

5%

Republican Independent (32%) (26%) Hennepin/Ramsey
Agree
South Collar

Agree

Democrat Disagree (40%) 84% 13%
76% 75% 74% 81% 22% 21% 20% 16%

32% 18% 5%

Disagree

MINNESOTA TRAN

West-Northwest Northeast

Republican Independent (32%) (26%)

Democrat (40%)

Agree Disagree 2. Minnesotans say they would like to use public transportation more often.
MINNESOTA TRANSPORTATION SURVEY – JANUARY 2013

Question: “I would like to use public transportation such as rail or buses more often, but it is not convenient or available from my home or work.”

Statewide, would like to use public transportation more often.

2012: 69%
This desire is shared across the state: Agree 69% 65% 62% 64% 67% Disagree 27% 32% 32% 31% 31%

2013:

66%

Hennepin/Ramsey Collar South West-Northwest Northeast

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3. There is overwhelming statewide voter support for funding the Southwest Light Rail. Seventy percent of voters statewide and 75% of voters in the seven-county metro region support dedicating $118 million in state funds to move forward with the Southwest Light Rail line. Question: “The Twin Cities currently has one operating light rail line and a second line, between Minneapolis and St. Paul, is under construction. In order to move forward with the next planed extension to the system – the Southwest Light Rail Line that would extend from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie – the state would dedicate $118 million in order to secure $625 million in federal matching funds. Do you support or oppose dedicating these funds?” Statewide: 70% support, 27% oppose, 3% undecided. Metro1: 75% support, 23% oppose, 2% undecided. Support funding for Southwest Light Rail Statewide

2012: 61%
Metro

2013:

70% 75%

2012: 64%

2013:

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Metro region includes voters from seven counties: Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington.
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4. Minnesotans strongly believe we need to improve public transit to help is strong support among Minnesota voters Therereduce traffic congestion and provide more transportation choices. Eighty-three percent (83%) of voters statewide and 84% of voters in the metro area for making additional investments in public transit. support the State of Minnesota investing more in public transit improvements to ease “Would you support or oppose the state of Minnesota making additional investments in traffic congestion and provide more transportation options. This includes if it would expanding and improving public transit, including buses, trains and light rail a solid majority of Republicans (71%),congestion and provide more transportation choices?” ease traffic Democrats (95%), and Independents (80%).
83% 84%

51% Strongly

58% Strongly

15%

14%

Statewide
Support Oppose

Metro Region
MINNESOTA TRANSPORTATION SURVEY – JANUARY 2013 16

Similarly, voters do not believe that a roads-only strategy will solve congestion:

Seventy-one percent (71%) of voters statewide and 71% of voters in the metro region do not believe focusing on roads and highways alone will solve the Twin Cities’ traffic congestion problems.

5. Voters see transit investments as critical to creating jobs. Three of four metro area voters believe jobs in the region will be positively affected by investing in and expanding the area’s public transit system. Fully 70% of Republicans, 77% of Independents, and 83% of Democrats in the metro region agree that transit investments will positively affect jobs here. Moreover, this survey finds that 69% of voters statewide and 70% of voters in the metro area agree that “Minneapolis‐Saint Paul needs a better regional transit system, including additional light rail lines, in order to compete for jobs with communities like Denver, Salt Lake City, Dallas and Portland that have more complete transit systems.”

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6. There is broad support among Minnesota voters for a sales tax increase in the sevencounty metro area to fund public transit improvements. Overall, 65% of Minnesota voters say they find a 0.5% (half of one percent) increase in the metro area sales tax an acceptable way to fund improving light rail, buses, and other public transit choices (33% unacceptable). Fully 57% of voters who live in those seven metro counties also say this is an acceptable option for funding transportation improvements. Nearly three-fourths of voters outside the Twin Cities metro area (74%) also find the sales tax option acceptable.

7. Metro voters say they want a funding plan that will address the area’s long-term transit needs and protect the region’s quality of life for decades to come. We read voters in the metro area an equal number of arguments for and against the sales tax proposal. Of the six arguments, most metro voters support the proposal because: I. “Nearly one million more people are projected to live in the Twin Cities area in the next 30 years. If we do not invest in providing more transportation options now, we'll have more traffic and clogged roads, more pollution and a worse quality of life.” (79% found it convincing) “Minnesota needs to plan ahead and be proactive in finding solutions to reduce traffic and provide transportation choices. Using the metro area sales tax as a long‐term funding source will ensure that annual political fights in the legislature do not sidetrack improvements to the region's transit system.” (62% found it convincing)

II.

After hearing pro and con arguments, metro voters support a sales tax increase option by a large margin (59% acceptable – 39% unacceptable).

THE BOTTOM LINE
This survey clearly shows that Minnesotans believe the best path for reducing traffic congestion lies with improving and expanding the state’s public transit system. That’s why we see strong voter support for dedicating state funds to extend the Southwest Light Rail Line and for increasing the sales tax in the metro region to fund public transit improvements. Voters in every corner of the state – and especially those in the metro region – see the importance of having a long-term public transit funding plan in place to protect their quality of life and boost the state’s economy and jobs outlook.

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