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Poll: Minnesotans support assault weapons ban, split on gay marriage

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Minnesota voters support a ban on assault weapons but remain evenly divided on the question of whether the state should legalize gay marriage, according to a new poll that surveyed voters on a variety of topics.

The Public Policy Polling survey released Thursday shows 47 percent in support of a law allowing gay marriage, and 45 percent opposed. The poll shows a deep partisan divide on the issue: 74 percent of Democrats favor it and 79 percent of Republicans oppose it.

The poll comes two months after Minnesotans rejected a ballot initiative that would have amended the state constitution to ban gay marriage. But gay marriage is still not legal in the state, and it's not clear whether lawmakers will tackle that issue this session, which legislators said will be largely focused on budget and tax issues.

“Minnesota’s marriage equality advocates are in a strong starting position if they decide to push to allow gay marriage,” Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, said in releasing the results. The pollster is said to be left-leaning, although its polls were shown to have had a Republican bias in the presidential election.

The poll showed Minnesotans support banning assault weapons, 54 percent to 37 percent. The survey said 44 percent of Minnesotans have a favorable opinion of the National Rifle Association, with 43 percent saying they had an unfavorable opinion of the nation's leading gun lobby group. A national debate about an assault weapons ban – and stricter gun control measures in general – has been rekindled in the wake of the shootings at a Connecticut elementary school that left 26 people dead.

More results:

Minnesota Democrats say their top choice for a 2016 presidential candidate is Hillary Rodham Clinton, who had 59 percent support. Joe Biden was the next closest with 14 percent.

And Sen. Amy Klobuchar, fresh from an easy re-election win, has a 65 percent job-approval rating. Klobuchar has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate, but 55 percent of those surveyed said she should not run for president. Klobuchar has said she is not interested in a presidential bid.

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