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Video: KSTP/SurveyUSA poll: Walz gets high marks for pandemic response

Dec 11, 2021 05:07AM ● By Editor

Watch the KSTP-TV Report here

Photo: KSTP-TV

By Tom Hauser of KSTP-TV - December 10, 2021

In many ways the 2022 Minnesota governor's race will be a referendum of sorts on how Gov. Tim Walz has done so far in responding to the coronavirus pandemic. If that's still the case 11 months from now, Walz is well-positioned to make a strong case to Minnesota voters.

According to our KSTP/SurveyUSA poll of a representative cross-section of  675 Minnesota adults, 55% of Minnesotans approve of his handling of the pandemic. Another 40% disapprove and six percent are not sure. A large majority of Democrats approve of his performance, 83%, along with 51% of independents. Only 29% of Republicans approve.

"The governor has been taking a lot of abuse on social media, but that's not a representative group of the broader Minnesota public," Carleton College political analyst Steven Schier said after reviewing the numbers. "Gov. Walz at 55% approval on the virus. It's the same as his overall job approval. So with Minnesotans generally — the registered voters who are responding to those questions — that's a very healthy level of support given all the difficulties the state has faced."

Gov. Walz is also a leading proponent of COVID-19 vaccines and it appears on that issue he's also aligned with the majority of Minnesotans. According to the survey, 76% of Minnesotans say they've been vaccinated and only 21% say they have not been vaccinated. Another 79% say they plan to or have already gotten the booster shot.

When it comes to a proposed vaccine mandate for employees of large companies, 54% of Minnesotans surveyed support the idea and 39% are opposed.

In contrast, five Republican candidates for governor said in a debate this week they oppose any vaccine mandates. Three of the five said they have been vaccinated, but two have not and said they don't plan to.

"Minnesotans have made up their minds they want to be vaccinated, they believe in some vaccine mandates and campaigning against vaccines will basically very unpopular with most Minnesotans in 2022," Schier says. "If Republicans nominate a candidate who is outspoken in opposition to vaccination that candidate will have a very difficult time convincing voters of that decision."

Our KSTP/SurveyUSA poll also found that a majority of Minnesotans approve of President Joe Biden's handling of the coronavirus. The survey shows 51% approve of Biden's performance and 42% oppose him. That's higher than his overall approval rating: 48% in favor and 48% opposed to his job performance.

You can view the full survey results by following this link to the KSTP-TV website.