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Minnesota


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....

Why Campaign Contributions by Homemakers to MN U.S. Representatives Are Not Part of a 'Shell Game'

One of the notable findings from yesterday's Smart Politics research that documented the occupational profile of those individuals giving large donations to the campaigns of Minnesota's U.S. Representatives was that nearly 95 percent of homemakers contributed to the three Republican members of the Gopher State delegation. Such contributions totaled more...

Who Gives? An Occupational Profile of Large Donor Contributions to the MN US House Delegation

Minnesota's eight-member U.S. House delegation raised more than $1.6 million last quarter, according to the latest Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports. Large donor individual donations accounted for about half of that total, or approximately $800,000. So, who are these private citizens pouring nearly $1 million into the campaign war chests...

Unemployment Continues to Rise at Historic Pace Across Upper Midwest

June was not a good month for jobs in the Upper Midwest, with unemployment increasing in Minnesota and three of its four neighboring states - Iowa, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. While unemployment remains below the national average across the region, the current rate of increase of jobless claims remains on...

26 Days and Counting: Why Norm Coleman Isn't Talking 2010

When former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman ended his 2008 election battle last month, he surprised many journalists by answering the inevitable question about whether he would run for governor with a more detailed answer than expected. Coleman first stated on June 30th that he would leave decisions as to his...

The Honeymoon Is Over: Obama Approval Rating Drops to 51 Percent in Minnesota

After six consecutive months of notching approval ratings between 59 and 65 percent in the Gopher State, President Barack Obama's job performance numbers haven taken a nose-dive in July, in not only Minnesota, but other key battleground states as measured by the polling firm SurveyUSA. SurveyUSA's latest monthly poll was...

Bachmann Outraises McCollum in 4th CD; Nearly Outraises Ellison in 5th CD

A Smart Politics analysis of FEC data for the 2nd Quarter of 2009 finds 6th District Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann raised more individual itemized contributions in the home districts of two of her fellow DFL colleagues, and nearly as much money in the home districts of two other DFLers. Representative...

Ellison Raises 90+ Percent of Q2 2009 Large Donor Individual Contributions from Outside 5th CD

In April 2009, Smart Politics reported on Keith Ellison's unusual campaign fundraising numbers that found the 2-term DFL Congressman raising the vast majority of his large donor individual contributions from out of state. That reporting period was not an aberration. The new Federal Election Commission (FEC) data for the second...

Oberstar Raises 100 Percent of Q2 2009 Itemized Individual Contributions from Out of State

Of the many benefits that come with being a Committee Chairman and one of the longest serving members in the U.S. House, is a certain national renown that enables a U.S. Representative to more easily raise campaign funds from out of state. Eighteen-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (MN-08) has perfected...

Bachmann Leads Minnesota House Delegation in Campaign Contributions by Individuals and Small Donors

Last Spring, Smart Politics explained how while the headline coming from the Federal Elections Commission Q1 2009 reports on the fundraising by Minnesota's U.S. House delegation was that Republican Michele Bachmann outraised all of her Gopher State colleagues by nearly $100,000, the story beneath the headline was that Bachmann was...

SoS Ritchie and Rep. Emmer Share Thoughts on Minnesota Election Reform

Last Friday four of Minnesota's prominent leaders on election reform convened at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs to discuss what work needs to be done for the Gopher State to improve on its nationally renowned election system. Moderated by Lawrence Jacobs, Director of the Institute's Center for the Study...



Political Crumbs

73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


Two Dakotas, One Voice?

For each of the last 24 presidential elections since 1920, North and South Dakota have voted in unison - casting their ballots for the same nominee. For 21 of these cycles (including each of the last 12 since 1968) Republicans carried the Dakotas with just three cycles going to the Democrats (1932, 1936, and 1964). This streak stands in contrast to the first few decades after statehood when North and South Dakota supported different nominees in four of the first seven cycles. North Dakota narrowly backed Populist James Weaver in 1892 while South Dakota voted for incumbent Republican Benjamin Harrison. In 1896, it was North Dakota backing GOPer William McKinley while South Dakota supported Democrat William Jennings Bryan by less than 200 votes. North Dakota voted Democratic in 1912 and 1916 supporting Woodrow Wilson while South Dakota cast its Electoral College votes for Progressive Teddy Roosevelt and Republican Charles Hughes respectively.


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