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Minnesota


Will the Minnesota-Wisconsin Shared State Services Plan Work?

On Tuesday, Minnesota Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty and Wisconsin Democratic Governor Jim Doyle signed executive orders calling for department heads to identify, by the end of February, "Specific activities, programs, and services ... for potential cooperative service arrangements." The orders were signed to create "Significant improvements to the delivery and...

Coleman Popularity Virtually Unchanged Since Election Day, Despite Recent Poll Headline

Much has been made of the extremely low favorability ratings Norm Coleman (and Al Franken) are enduring in the wake of numbers released in last week's SurveyUSA poll of Minnesotans conducted after the conclusion of the 2008 U.S. Senate recount process. The poll found Coleman's favorability numbers dipping to just...

How to Save Minnesota's U.S. House Seat: More Teenage Mothers?

Last month Smart Politics examined the political impact on the state of Minnesota should it lose one U.S. House seat as projected by many analysts, including a recent report issued by Election Data Services. Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data detailing the teenage...

U.S. Senate Race Ends Up 12 Votes Shy of '62 Gubernatorial Margin of Victory Record

With the final results (court challenge pending) certified by the State Canvassing Board on Monday finding Al Franken with a 225-vote victory over Norm Coleman, the 2008 U.S. Senate race nearly eclipsed the 1962 gubernatorial election as the closest high-profile statewide election in Gopher State history. For 46 years and...

How Opposed Are Minnesotans To Tax Increases?

With the start of the new legislative session officially underway, the clock has begun to tick on the likely showdown between Governor Tim Pawlenty and the DFL-controlled legislature as to whether tax increases should be a part of the solution to solve the state’s $5 billion budget deficit. The DFL...

Will Al Franken Be the Favorite in 2014?

Presuming Al Franken is eventually seated as the junior Senator from Minnesota sometime this year, the Republican Party will no doubt soon be gearing up to plan his political demise in 2014 - whether with Norm Coleman in a rematch or against another GOP opponent. Of course, assessing the likelihood...

Franken's (Apparent) Victory Is 4th Weakest U.S. Senate Performance in DFL History

Throughout his U.S. Senate campaign, Al Franken was dogged by criticisms, even peppered from within his own party, that he was a 'weak candidate' for the DFL. These criticisms took many forms, such as stern words regarding Franken's writings and temperament from respected DFL U.S. Representative Betty McCollum to...

Franken Has Big Edge in County Distribution of Absentee Ballots

Al Franken's 49-vote lead is expected by nearly all analysts to increase after the tabulation of wrongly excluded absentee ballots by the Canvassing Board this weekend. The final, hard data is now in to confirm these suspicions. Of the 953 ballots sent by the state's 87 counties to the Board,...

Minnesota's Currently Drawn Congressional Maps 3rd Least Competitive in State History

Despite Smart Politics’ recent observation that Minnesota’s U.S. House elections are far more competitive than the national average, new research by Smart Politics finds the Gopher State’s current district boundaries to have produced the 3rd lowest number of competitive races out of the 15 Congressional maps that have been drawn...

Minnesota '08 U.S. House Contests More Competitive Than National Average by Double-Digits

As Minnesota gears up for congressional and legislative redistricting in the next few years, as well as the possible loss of a U.S. House seat, the Gopher State can take some pride in the fact that its U.S. House contests continue to be more competitive than the national average by...

Hutchinson (’06) Performance Strong Predictor of Barkley Countywide Support in Minnesota Senate Race

As documented by Smart Politics last week, Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley took a very different path to reach 15 percent in the 2008 Minnesota U.S. Senate race than did 2002 Independence Party gubernatorial nominee, Tim Penny (who reached 16 percent in that race). Penny’s support was heavily skewed towards...

Crime and the Minnesota Economy Revisited: Brace for Property Crime Surge

At about the same time Smart Politics posited the question as to what effect, if any, the rising unemployment rate and economic downturn would have on the state’s violent crime rate, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak’s office issued a press release documenting how violent crime has declined in every Minneapolis precinct...

Getting to 15 Percent: Two Different Paths for Dean Barkley (’08) and Tim Penny (’02)

Independence Party nominee Dean Barkley’s U.S. Senate candidacy was of great interest to the media and political junkies leading up to the 2008 election. Could Barkley launch a Ventura-esque come-from-behind victory? Would his presence on the ballot hurt Al Franken more than Norm Coleman? Would he raise enough money to...

Will Violent Crime in Minnesota Increase Along With the Jobless Rate?

The news released on Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development that Minnesota’s unemployment rate had reached 6.4 percent, prompted Smart Politics to examine how the current jobless trend, and specifically the large rate of job loss, is unprecedented, going back decades in the state. The problems...

Minnesota Unemployment Rate Reaches Highest Level in Nearly A Quarter Century

The news gets bleaker and bleaker for workers in the Gopher State. The November 2008 seasonally adjusted jobless numbers have been released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development: unemployment rose to 6.4 percent – up from 5.9 percent in October. The number of unemployed Minnesotans increased by...

'The McCain 14': House DFLers in Republican-Leaning Districts

On Wednesday, Smart Politics highlighted GOP legislators who serve house districts won by Barack Obama – legislators who are more vulnerable to district political pressures that might lead them to consider defecting from their Republican caucus in the event of a DFL override attempt against Governor Tim Pawlenty in the...

Who Will Be the 'Override Three?'

The budget crisis outlined at the Capitol earlier this month is of such historic proportions that it will likely only serve to further strain the already tense relationship between Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty and the DFL-controlled legislature. In order to balance the budget, both sides will be calling for change:...

Minnesota Leads Nation in Voter Turnout for Seventh Straight Election Cycle

Minnesota voters, buoyed perhaps both by a strong sense of civic duty, a high interest in politics, and a little thing called same-day registration, have once again led the country in voter turnout in the 2008 election. The Gopher State has now topped the country in turnout in seven straight...

As Coleman Toils, Klobuchar Sails

As Norm Coleman’s campaign continues to fight with Al Franken for every vote (and seemingly every procedural move) in the highly watched Senate race recount, his DFL colleague Amy Klobuchar remains the most popular figure in Minnesota politics. Prior to his 15+ round heavyweight fight with Franken, Senator Coleman too...

Upper Midwestern Reapportionment, Part II: A Historical Overview

In a follow-up to yesterday’s discussion of the 2012 projected reapportionment, Smart Politics presents two tables to illustrate the diminishing political influence of Minnesota and the Upper Midwestern battleground states in the U.S. House as a result of population shifts in the United States. Table 1 demonstrates how the projected...



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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