Results of new poll show Minnesotans have mixed views of U realignment

Derrick Biney

Survey says Ö

The University might not be on the right track.

According to a recent poll conducted by KRC Research, an independent market research firm, 46 percent of Minnesotans said the University is heading in the right direction, 18 percent said it was on the wrong track and the remaining 36 percent reported being unsure or did not respond to the question.

The University hired KRC Research to conduct the survey – which asked questions regarding perceptions and attitudes toward the University – between Dec. 8 and Dec. 14. The study was released Tuesday.

Of those who identified as being an “opinion leader,” 63 percent said the University is going in the right direction.

In regard to the University’s realignment initiative to become one of the world’s top-three public research institutions, 73 percent of the sample said they hadn’t heard of it, while 43 percent of “opinion leaders” said they had.

The survey also found that some with favorable opinions of the University had some connection to the institution.

Elementary education junior Jenny Xiong said she thinks the University is doing a good job, but said she believes the poll is biased.

Since she has taken a sociology course on American race relations, she always “thinks critically” about things she encounters in life, she said. She said she has learned that every detail matters.

Xiong said she thought only one of every 30 people wasn’t white, and that the “opinion leaders” might typically have been young white men.

Vice President of University Relations Linda Thrane said members of the sampling set were selected randomly, and therefore, their demographics are confidential.

She said the survey results show the University has “broad and widespread support” from the general public.

The survey asked respondents to rank the reasons they thought favorably of the University. Forty-four percent answered because “it is a good school,” while 3 percent said it was because “it is affordable.”

First-year electrical engineering student Richard Ajyei said the University could do a better job allocating its resources to aid students, especially those who come from underprivileged backgrounds.

This is the third year the University has solicited a report like this and the second year KRC has administered the survey, Thrane said.

The firm has expertise in other areas of higher education, which is why the University chose to use it, she said.

The aim is for the University to see how it can do a better job communicating with the public, Thrane said.

“The survey is a way to (assess) what people in the state know about us and what they don’t know,” she said.

Thrane said Minnesotans usually are a very reserved type of people, so the results are very encouraging.