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Minnesota


What Will We Learn From the Minnesota U.S. Senate Primaries?

As several polls show a tight race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken heading into the Minnesota U.S. Senate primary, the campaigns – and the media – will be looking for clues as to which candidate is in the stronger position coming out of the primaries heading into the home...

3rd CD: DFL Experiences Historical Bump in Presidential Election Years

Upon 9-term Republican U.S. Representative Jim Ramstad’s retirement announcement in 2007, the DFL knew Ramstad’s open 3rd CD seat would be a competitive race and a potential pick-up for the party in 2008. (The DFL is running Iraqi War veteran Ashwin Madia against Republican State Representative Erik Paulsen). But the...

Trust in Government Drops By Nearly Half In Minnesota Since 2004

As Minnesotans prepare once again to be at the heart of another competitive presidential election, the Gopher States’ view of government has eroded precipitously during the last four years. According to the latest Humphrey Institute / Minnesota Public Radio survey, only 28 percent of likely voters believe our government can...

Upper Midwesterns Back McCain on Foreign Policy; Domestic Policy Mixed

A series of SurveyUSA polls across the Upper Midwest finds registered voters more confident John McCain can better handle foreign policy issues and immigration, while Barack Obama has the edge on health care. In a surprising turn, Obama ends up with a draw against McCain on economic issues. The polls,...

Why Dean Barkley Is Hurting Al Franken's U.S. Senate Chances

A new U.S. Senate poll released today by the Humphrey Institute and Minnesota Public Radio finds Norm Coleman and Al Franken virtually deadlocked in the Gopher State’s U.S. Senate race. While Franken’s statistically insignificant 41 to 40 percent lead in the poll comes as a bit of a surprise...

HHH/MPR Survey: Obama Up By 10 in Minnesota

A new poll by the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute and Minnesota Public Radio was released today indicating Barack Obama still has the advantage over John McCain in the Gopher State. The poll, conducted over an 11-day period ending August 17th of 763 likely voters, finds Obama leading McCain 48...

McCain Nearly Even With Obama in New Poll of Minnesotans

SurveyUSA’s latest poll of likely voters in the Gopher State finds John McCain reaching his second highest level of support in more than a dozen polls conducted since late March 2008. McCain’s two-point deficit, 47 to 45 percent, is just one point shy of his previous peak, when he trailed...

Number of Undecided Voters Increasing in Minnesota Senate Race

In SurveyUSA’s new mid-August poll of the Minnesota U.S. Senate race, Norm Coleman has a 7-point advantage over Al Franken, 46 to 39 percent. The poll continues a trend over the last six weeks revealing there is a substantial number of Minnesotans who are undecided or who plan to vote...

Obama Support Falls To Lowest Mark Against McCain in Rasmussen’s Minnesota Polling

As recent state polls across the country indicate a tightening of the presidential race in favor of John McCain, a new Rasmussen poll of 700 likely Minnesota voters finds support for Obama at its lowest margin to date across nine polls conducted by the survey organization since February 2008. The...

Will GOP Controversy Put 16th Senate District In Play for the DFL?

Minnesota blogs have been buzzing in recent days in light of state Representative Mark Olson’s endorsement by the Republican Party for the special election in Senate District 16 held this November. The election is being held to fill Betsy Wergin’s seat, who was appointed to the Public Utilities Commission. Controversy...

Will Minnesotans Turn Out On Primary Day?

Minnesotans have earned a deserved reputation for turning out the vote on Election Day in recent years. During presidential election years, Minnesota has yielded a turnout rate of between 65 and 83 percent since 1952, including increasing totals of 65, 70, and 78 percent during the last three cycles...

Pawlenty Disapproval Numbers Increasing Amid VP Talk

Although Minnesota Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty is not beloved by all in the Gopher State, he has maintained a consistent level of job approval throughout his gubernatorial tenure. In nearly 60 public opinion polls of Minnesotans conducted since early 2003, Pawlenty has dipped below the 50 percent mark in...

The Decline of a President: Tracing Bush's Approval Ratings in the Upper Midwest

Despite rising national unemployment rates, high gas prices, and overall economic uncertainty, George W. Bush remains basically no less popular among Upper Midwesterners in 2008 than he was in 2007. A Smart Politics study of nearly 180 public opinion polls conducted between 2004 and 2008 in the region finds Bush’s...

What Is the Democratic Ceiling Across Upper Midwestern State Legislatures?

The 2006 election saw Democratic takeovers of 3 of the 6 Upper Midwestern legislative chambers previously controlled by the Republicans. Democrats now control 5 chambers (the Iowa House and Senate, the Minnesota House and Senate, and the Wisconsin Senate) with the Republicans controlling 3 (the South Dakota House and Senate...

Will the GOP Make Gains in the Minnesota House?

When the DFL swept its way into control of the Minnesota House in the 2006 election, some Republican officeholders and officials partially attributed the DFL 19-seat net gain to having all the cards fall just right for the DFL – that they won all the close races. House Minority Leader...

Minnesota Home to Increasing Number of Self-Identified Democrats

A Smart Politics study of the partisan leanings of Minnesota residents finds that the percentage of self-identified Democrats has increased nearly 30 percent since 2005. While the percentage of self-identified Republicans has dropped, it seems the Democratic Party is increasing its numbers largely from converting independents to its side. Smart...

Will Obama Perform Stronger in Wisconsin Than in Minnesota? Don’t Count On It

A new poll by Quinnipiac University of more than 1,000 likely voters in both Minnesota and Wisconsin was released Thursday with a surprising headline: Barack Obama led John McCain by just 2 points in the Gopher State (46 to 44 percent) but had an 11-point advantage over the Arizona Senator...

How Blue Is Minnesota? Not 7 U.S. House Seats Blue

Tim Walz’s pick-up of the Gopher State’s 1st Congressional District in 2006 buoyed hopes for the DFL of a decisive bluish trend among voters for its U.S. House candidates in the coming years. Walz’s victory surprised many pundits, even in an election year that was expecting several Democratic pick-ups across...

Smart Politics Study: Independence Party Need Make No Apologies to the DFL

The DFL has pointed to the Independence Party gubernatorial candidacies of Peter Hutchinson (2006) and Tim Penny (2002) as part of the reason for Republican Tim Pawlenty's two plurality wins in the Gopher State. The fear, among the DFL, is that the Independence Party is not so much bringing...

MN State House: Independence Party Stops the Bleeding

The Independence Party has stopped the bleeding. After leaving a major footprint on Minnesota State House races in the 2000, 2002, and 2004 elections, the number of IP candidates on the ballot greatly declined in 2006 to just nine districts. At the time of the close of Tuesday’s filing deadline,...



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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