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Minnesota


The Picture of Mental Health: Minnesota's Unusually Low Suicide Rate

Although Minnesotans may not enjoy the harsh cold weather and long winters the state endures year after year, there is little evidence to suggest Gopher State residents are suffering the degree of severe depression or mental illnesses experienced by many other states across the country – illnesses that sometimes contribute...

Minneapolis Crime Rates Continue to Fall as Unemployment Rises

As unemployment rises month-by-month in Minneapolis, along with the rest of the Gopher State, serious violent and property crimes continue to fall in Minnesota's most populated city at an impressive rate. Minneapolis' non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate hit 7.1 percent in February - its highest rate in decades. However, even though...

Upper Midwestern States Bearing the Brunt of Rising Unemployment

Although the majority of Upper Midwestern states are currently experiencing some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, the rate of increase, particularly during the last four months, has hit this region of the country particularly hard. Overall, three of the five states with the lowest unemployment rates in...

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...



Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


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.


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