KSTP/SurveyUSA poll: Minnesotans want sports betting, Social Security tax elimination

The 2024 session of the Minnesota Legislature isn’t likely to be as far-reaching, expensive and impactful as the 2023 session, but there will still be plenty on the plate that will have the interest of Minnesotans. One of the issues many lawmakers get asked about most is the legalization of sports betting.

Minnesota is one of just 13 states that still outlaw sports betting (other than horse racing). According to respondents in our KSTP-TV/SurveyUSA poll conducted in late January, 55% of Minnesotans want legal sports betting. Only 21% say it should remain illegal.

“I think most Minnesotans would say if you can do it in Iowa, if you can do it in Wisconsin, why can’t you do it here?” Republican political analyst Brian McClung said. “There are some Democrats who are just entirely opposed to expanded gambling. There are some Republicans who are opposed. And so any solution here is going to be bipartisan.”

But a bipartisan agreement is complicated by the fact Democratic legislative leaders want Native American tribes to control most sports betting. In our survey, 55% of Minnesotans say both the tribes and the state’s two horse tracks should be involved. Only 10% say it should be the tribes only.

Then there are those who question why the state should legalize sports betting.

“My question is what is this priority and why? It doesn’t even give that much money back to the state,” said former DFL state Senator Ember Reichgott Junge, a political analyst on “At Issue.”

Another issue likely to be back before the legislature is the elimination of state income taxes on Social Security income. Those taxes were reduced last year, but our poll suggests Minnesotans want the legislature to finish the job, as 69% of respondents say the tax should be eliminated.

“You paid into this system your entire working life, now you’re receiving the benefit, why would you be taxed on that when it comes back to you,” said McClung, who supports the elimination of the tax.

Reichgott Junge says Democrats have good reason to retain some level of taxation on Social Security income.

“They just don’t feel we should be benefitting the very high-income seniors who can actually pay that tax,” she said.

Our final poll question asked Minnesotans their thoughts on the new state flag recently approved by a special commission. In our survey, 49% want to keep the old flag, 23% like the new flag and 21% say the state should start over with a new design.

“It’s funny because what you learn through this is that all Minnesotans are graphic designers and everybody has an opinion on something like this,” McClung joked. But Reichgott Junge says going back to the old flag should not be an option.

“The old flag has a lot of issues around it,” she says of concerns about how it depicts Native Americans. “It really does need to change.”

Some lawmakers will introduce a bill this session asking for the flag issue to be put before Minnesota voters.

SurveyUSA interviewed 2,100 total adults from the state of Minnesota. Of the adults, 1,853 were identified as being registered to vote; of the registered voters, 1,594 were determined by SurveyUSA to be likely voters in the November general election. This research was conducted online, using a nonprobability sample of online adult panelists.

See the other results from the poll at the following links:

View the full survey results below: