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Minnesota


Obama Approval Rating Holds in Minnesota, Plummets in Iowa and Wisconsin

Although Barack Obama's approval rating has taken an (expected) hit in Minnesota since the beginning of his term, a hit all presidents endure, a new SurveyUSA poll finds Gopher State residents much more patient with the new Democratic president than many states across the nation. A poll of 600 adults,...

A Profile of Minnesota's 94 DFL and GOP 'Stronghold' House Districts

In Monday's first part in a series of reports looking ahead to the battle for the Minnesota House in 2010, Smart Politics outlined several significant hurdles the Republican Party faces to not simply make a long-shot run at taking back the lower chamber in St. Paul, but to even make...

What Are the Odds of a GOP Takeover of the Minnesota House in 2010?

While few Minnesota political pundits - or officeholders - are projecting a GOP takeover of the House of Representatives in November 2010, the Republican party leadership is very optimistic they are going to make gains into the DFL's current 40-seat advantage in the lower chamber. The DFL, meanwhile, is hoping...

Which Lawmaker (and Political Party) Leaves the Biggest Twitter Footprint in Minnesota Politics?

Last month Smart Politics conducted a case study as to how one Minnesota lawmaker, Republican Representative Laura Brod, utilized the social networking site Twitter during the last legislative session. That study found the plurality of Rep. Brod's tweets were about substantive policy issues, with approximately one-sixth about her own personal...

Minnesota Has 3rd Lowest Increase in Unemployment Nationwide Since Enactment of Federal Stimulus Bill

As it turns out, the three-tenths of a percent decrease in jobless claims announced last week by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is the backdrop to an even larger story of (relatively) good economic news for Minnesotans. While Minnesota has endured record setting increases in unemployment over...

Can the DFL Win a 6th U.S. House Seat in 2010?

As Minnesota faces the real prospect of losing its 8th U.S. House seat in the 2012 reapportionment, the DFL looks to close the current census period with a bang, by returning to its glory days of the 1990s when it controlled 6 of the Gopher State's Congressional districts. One hurdle...

Unemployment Down in Minnesota and South Dakota, Flat in Wisconsin

New unemployment data released this week for the month of July in Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin provides largely good news on the labor force front in the Upper Midwest. In Minnesota, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 8.4 percent in June to 8.1 percent in July. Minnesota's jobless...

Michele Bachmann Appears on National Cable TV Every 9 Days

With her A-block interview on health care reform on Fox News' Hannity program Tuesday evening, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has now equaled in 7+ months in 2009 the number of national cable television news appearances she made in all of 2008. A Smart Politics analysis of media transcripts dating back...

How Long Before Brett Favre Gets a Job Approval Rating?

With future Hall of Famer Brett Favre signing a two-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings this week, the Gopher State's most popular sports franchise is now officially led by the former face of its most hated rival, the Green Bay Packers. Because of the animosity (although, at times, perhaps begrudging...

Will Minnesota and Wisconsin Elect Governors from the Same Political Party in 2010?

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle's official announcement on Monday that he would not be seeking a third term created not only a newfound battle for the Democratic nomination, but also a scenario whereby the Badger and Gopher States will both have open gubernatorial races on the Election Day ballot for...

Al Franken Receives First Grade As U.S. Senator: Minnesotans Split Down the Middle

As DFL Senator Al Franken inched into office by the narrowest of margins, both he and 2008 Republican opponent Norm Coleman endured negative net favorability ratings as their expensive, and frequently brutal campaigns gained neither candidate favor with a majority of Minnesotans. A few weeks out from Election Day saw...

Can the DFL End Its Gubernatorial Drought?

With House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher's announcement that she is now officially in the 2010 gubernatorial race, the DFL adds yet another hopeful face to end a near quarter-century drought since the party last won the prized statewide office in 1986. However, as elusive as the governor's mansion has been...

Minnesota Leads Midwest in Birth-to-Death Ratio; Will Its 8th U.S. House Seat Be Saved?

With the U.S. Census and reapportionment just around the corner, reports have come out during the past year, including data from Minnesota's own state demographer, that indicate the Gopher State is in real danger of losing a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012. While that may still...

Et Tu Minnesota? Klobuchar Disapproval Rating Soars to Record High After Franken Is Seated

As unemployment continued to rise and economic and budget concerns reached near crisis levels across most states, several U.S. Senators, both Democrats and Republicans, saw their approval ratings slip noticeably during the first several months of 2009. One of the few Senators left seemingly unscathed by this backlash of public...

Oberstar Rails Against Obama on Transportation Policy

Interspersed between his erudite historical recounting of transportation policy over the last 50 years, colorful inside-the-beltway jokes and jabs, and a vision for transportation policy for the next generation, Minnesota DFL Congressman Jim Oberstar offered some particularly harsh language for his party's leader, President Barack Obama, Wednesday afternoon at the...

Minnesota GOP U.S. House Members Notch $800,000 Fundraising Swing Against DFL Colleagues from 2007 to 2009

Riding the momentum of a Democratic tsunami in 2006, Minnesota's crop of five DFL U.S. Representatives posted a monumental fundaising effort through the first two quarters of 2007 - outraising the state's three GOP Representatives by over $750,000. Now, two full quarters after the Democratic tsunami in 2008, the Republicans...

Congressman Oberstar to Speak at Humphrey Institute Wednesday

Minnesota's senior member of its U.S. House delegation, 18-term Representative Jim Oberstar will speak on transportation policy at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs on Wednesday morning. The event is cosponsored by Institute's Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, the State and Local Policy...

Economic Downturn Scarcely Slowing Political Contributions to Minnesota's U.S. House Delegation

The economic recession of the past year, and its accompanying significant rise in unemployment, rise in home foreclosures and delinquency rates, and drop in the stock market, has not derailed Minnesota's U.S. House delegation from raising money like the recession never happened. A Smart Politics analysis finds there was a...

Pawlenty on the Rebound? Governor's Approval Rating Reaches Highest Mark in 2009

Now more than two months removed from a brutal budget battle with the DFL, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has seen his approval numbers rise to its highest level this year, according to SurveyUSA's latest 'snapshot in time.' Pawlenty's approval rating for the month of July increased six points from June...

Republican Party ID Matches Democrats for First Time in Minnesota Since October 2005

The latest monthly SurveyUSA poll finds more Gopher State residents identifying as Republicans than at any point in more than four years. The new poll, conducted July 17-19 of 600 adults statewide, also finds Republicans now match the Democrats in party ID for the first time since October 2005....



Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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