Minnesotans are feeling hopeful. Mostly.

Eighty-two percent of Minnesotans are hopeful about the state’s future.

Eighty-two percent of Minnesotans are hopeful about the state’s future.

By Craig Helmstetter, Managing Partner

Minnesotans are feeling hopeful. Mostly.

Five findings on hope (and fear) from the Ground Level Survey


We recently partnered with Minnesota Public Radio News to conduct the wide-ranging Ground Level Survey of Minnesotans. On our behalf the data collection firm SSRS interviewed a representative sample of 1,654 adults residing in virtually every corner of the state.

One of the key questions of the survey was:

When you think about Minnesota, are you generally hopeful or fearful about the future?

This is what we found: 

1. Minnesotans are overwhelmingly optimistic about their state’s future.

In a landslide win for hopefulness, 82 percent of Minnesotans said they are hopeful. Only 15 percent said they are fearful. Three percent were not sure.

2. Instead of a rural urban divide, there is a rural urban consensus on hopefulness.

The vast majority of residents of both the Twin Cities 7-County Region and Greater Minnesota indicate they feel hopeful about the state’s future (89% and 73%, respectively). On the other hand, the proportion who indicate they are fearful is highest in Central Minnesota and the St. Cloud Area.

The majority of residents in all parts of Minnesota are hopeful.

The majority of residents in all parts of Minnesota are hopeful.


3. Overall, there is not
 a meaningful difference between White Minnesotans and Minnesotans of Color in terms of hopefulness. In fact, a significantly higher proportion of Black Minnesotans are hopeful than is the case for the state’s White population.

The relationship between hope and race is somewhat surprising, due to context: Minnesota has even larger racial disparities than most states along lines of employment, income, and health. It is, of course, very possible to be hopeful in the face of adversity, but given the prevalent racial disparities facing Minnesota, I was pleasantly surprised to find that optimism about the state’s future is shared across racial lines.

African Americans are even more hopeful than are Whites about the future of Minnesota.

African Americans are even more hopeful than are Whites about the future of Minnesota.


4. Optimism about Minnesota’s future does not appear to be tied to household income.

Whether from households with incomes below $50,000 or above $100,000, Minnesotans are bullish on the state’s future.

5. Minnesotans are bi-partisan when it comes to hopefulness.

 While the “fearful” sub-caucus of Minnesota Republicans (including those leaning Republican) is larger than that of the state’s Democrats, big majorities of both parties indicate they are hopeful. What about Minnesotans who do not affiliate with either of the two major parties? They are hopeful too.

Regardless of political leanings, few are fearful about Minnesota’s future.

Regardless of political leanings, few are fearful about Minnesota’s future.


-Craig (@c_helmstetter)


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For much more, including how the survey was conducted, the technical definitions for the regions noted above, and detailed survey results, see https://www.apmresearchlab.org/stories/2017/11/13/ground-level

For extensive coverage of the survey results by Minnesota Public Radio News, see: https://www.mprnews.org/topic/ground-level



Craig Helmstetter