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Minnesota fairgoers say 'yea' to gas tax, 'nay' to recreational pot

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Thousands of Minnesota State Fairgoers took part in a nonpartisan House poll touching on everything from tax breaks for the NFL and voter registration, to Sunday liquor sales and recreational marijuana use.

The 12-question poll was conducted by the House Public Information Services Office, held at the House of Representatives booth during the Great Minnesota Get-Together. It's described as "informal" and "unscientific" – but does offer a glimpse at how Minnesotans feel about issues that may come up in the next session.

Maybe surprisingly, the majority of respondents actually were in favor of a higher tax.

When asked if the state's gas tax should be increased by 5 cents a gallon to held fund highway and bridge needs, 54 percent of those polled said yes. Only 40.5 percent said they were against it.

Then there's talk of legalizing recreational marijuana use, a discussion that's picked up steam nationally since Colorado and Washington voted in favor of it in recent years. In the Fair poll, 43.3 percent of people were in favor of allowing recreational use for people 21 years and older. Against it were 48.1 percent of people.

Some voter results were clear.

66.4 percent of the people thought e-cigarettes should be regulated the same as tobacco cigarettes, while 23.4 percent did not. 70.1 percent of people felt the state should refuse to provide the NFL any more subsidies for the 2018 Super Bowl. And 49.6 percent of respondents say public schools should not be required to give K-12 students swimming lessons (38.4 percent supported it).

Other areas were much tighter.

One of the poll questions asked if the law should be changed so a felon – who right now can not vote when serving any part of a sentence, including probation – can vote immediately following a release from a correctional facility. A total of 43.7 percent said yes, while 47.2 percent said no. The remaining 9.1 percent were undecided.

And taxing snacks? There's currently a sales tax on candy and soft drinks; the poll asked if the definition of taxable foods should grow to include snacks such as chips, cookies, ice cream and popcorn. 46.5 percent of people said yes, and 47.3 percent of people said no.

Click here to see a full breakdown of all the questions and responses.

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