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Minnesota


Amy Klobuchar: Steady as She Goes

The latest U.S. Senate approval numbers released by SurveyUSA for the month of March find Minnesota DFLer Amy Klobuchar with the 4th highest rating of the 27 Senators tracked by the polling organization. But that's not the headline. What is noteworthy about these March numbers is how they continue...

Is Minnesota the Most Democratic-Friendly State in the Midwest?

Smart Politics recently examined Governor Tim Pawlenty's approval rating and highlighted its remarkable strength and stability in the face of the current economic crisis. But Pawlenty's popularity is also noteworthy when viewed in the greater partisan environment of the Gopher State. A Smart Politics analysis of state and federal officeholders...

Marty Seifert: His Own Kind of Republican

In a colorful speech delivered at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs on Wednesday afternoon, Minnesota House Minority Leader Marty Seifert (HD 21A-Marshall) discussed some of the differences between a 'Marty Seifert Republican' and a 'Washington, D.C. Republican' as well as drew some policy distinctions between himself and Governor Tim...

Redistricting Update: SF 182 Heads to Rules Committee

On Thursday morning the Minnesota Senate Finance Committee approved SF 182 on a voice vote, with one Senator dissenting. The legislation, authored by Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller (SD 59-Minneapolis) and Ann Rest (SD 45-New Hope), would establish new legislative and congressional districting principles as well as create a new redistricting...

Pawlenty Approval Rating Defies National Trend; Eclipses 50 Percent Mark Once Again

The 45th SurveyUSA poll measuring Minnesotans' approval of Tim Pawlenty's job performance finds the Republican Governor back once again in familiar, positive territory. Last month, for only the 6th time in 45 SurveyUSA polls, Pawlenty fell below the 50 percent mark at 48 percent. But in the latest poll, conducted...

Pawlenty Faces 4th Largest Democratic-Dominated Legislature Among GOP Governors Nationwide

With the release of the DFL's budget earlier this month, the war of words (and policies) in the budget battle between the DFL leadership and Minnesota Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty has seemingly intensified. During her media availability last Friday, House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher described her recent meeting with the...

December 2013? July 2016? Estimating When Unemployment Will Return to Pre-Recession Levels in Minnesota

Governor Tim Pawlenty and State Economist Tom Stinson have frequently declared that Minnesota is in its worst recession since World War II. If that is the case, how long will it take to return to the halcyon days of a thriving Minnesota economy, with unemployment returning to its pre-recession levels...

Erik Paulsen's (Semi) Close Shave Could Get Closer in 2010

Congressional Quarterly recently identified Congressional districts that split their ticket in the 2008 U.S. House and presidential contests. Almost one-fifth of the current Republicans in Congress were elected without the help of John McCain. In total, 34 of the 178 GOPers elected in 2008 (19.1 percent) carried districts that McCain...

Obama Sustains Early Support in Minnesota; Falters in Wisconsin and Iowa

SurveyUSA’s latest round of approval ratings for President Barack Obama have been released for a dozen states across the country, in polling conducted March 20-22 of 600 adults in each state. Although the President has had a consistently higher job performance rating during the first three months of his tenure...

79 Days: Minnesota Sets State Record for Longest Period With Only One U.S. Senator

At 12:00 am Monday morning, the State of Minnesota set a new record for operating at half-strength in Capitol Hill's upper chamber. At 79 days and counting, Minnesota's current stint with only one U.S. Senator has now eclipsed the previous mark set in the summer of 1923, when it...

Michele Bachmann on D.C.: "I'm a Foreign Correspondent On Enemy Lines"

During a Saturday afternoon interview on WWTC 1280 AM with The Northern Alliance's John Hinderaker and Brian Ward, Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann discussed her staunch opposition to several Democratic-led efforts on Capitol Hill this session - such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the recently passed HR 1586...

Beyond the War of Words At the Capitol: What's Next?

During the House DFL leadership's press conference last Thursday in which they unveiled the broad strokes of their balanced budget plan, Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Majority Leader Tony Sertich used biting language to characterize the budget plan of their political opponent, Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty. In defending their own...

Upper Midwest House Members Vote 18-5 in Favor of TARP Bailout Bonus Tax

On Thursday, Upper Midwestern U.S. House Democrats unanimously supported a bill that would impose an additional tax on bonuses received from certain Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) recipients. The measured passed 328 to 93 in the lower chamber. The bill (HR 1586) taxes at 90 percent bonuses given to employees...

Jobless Claims Rate of Increase Slowed Across Upper Midwest in February

Preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment data for the month of February 2009 was released on Wednesday and Thursday for three Upper Midwestern states, with each showing a reduction in the rate of growth of jobless claims. While unemployment rates continued to rise in all three states since January, each state was...

Beneath the Budget Battle, Redistricting Efforts Bubble Up

A Who's Who of Minnesota politics from across the political spectrum continue to speak as one voice in an effort to bring change to the process by which the State draws its congressional and legislative districts. Back in January 2008, former Vice President and DFL Senator Walter Mondale, former Republican...

Why MinnPost's Plea for Forgiveness of Minnesota's Famous Fugitive Is Unfounded

In his recent column, “What happened to the concept of forgiveness in the Sara Jane Olson case?,” MinnPosts’ Doug Grow, in just a shade over 1,000 words, not only advocates for the return of convicted felon Sara Jane Olson (née Kathleen Soliah) back to Minnesota to serve out her parole,...

On Why Analyzing the Leaked Coleman Data Is Ethical: A Reply to My Critics

Ethical questions have been raised in recent days surrounding the reporting by news organizations and bloggers on the leaked Norm Coleman U.S. Senate campaign pledges and contributions. Smart Politics has also received its fair share of both criticism and praise for its analysis of the compromised data, perhaps, one might...

An Occupational Profile of Norm Coleman's Campaign Donor List

The many bits of information made available from the leak of the Norm Coleman U.S. Senate campaign donor database, posted at Wikileaks on Wednesday, gives the public a glimpse into what type of people supported the Republican incumbent's candidacy. On Thursday, Smart Politics broke down the donor data by state;...

Coleman's Compromised Donors: Where They Came From

The news for Norm Coleman just keeps getting worse. Fresh off his recent attempt to sell to the public (and the three-judge panel hearing his recount challenge) that the State of Minnesota should hold a new election, the private information of nearly 5,000 donors to his political campaign was...

Minnesota Legislature Ranks Near Bottom in Proportional Representation of African-Americans

Although Minnesota has the 4th highest percentage of women serving in state legislatures nationwide, the Gopher State only ranks 40th in the country in terms of proportional representation of African-Americans in St. Paul. Out of the 201 legislators in the State House and Senate, only 2 members are black -...



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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