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Minnesota


Upper Midwestern Presidential Poll Roundup

A deluge of public opinion polls has surfaced during the past week gauging voter preferences in the presidential race, particularly in the Upper Midwest – home to three of the nation’s classic battleground states. In Minnesota, the three latest polls tell a similar story: John McCain has narrowed the double-digit...

MN U.S. Senate Elections Historically Uncompetitive in Presidential Election Years

A Smart Politics study of the 22 U.S. Senate races held in the Gopher State since the union of the Democratic and Farmer-Labor parties in 1944 finds Senate contests held during presidential election years to be less competitive than those held in off years. Since 1944, there have been 10...

Why Isn’t Dean Barkley Derailing Al Franken's Candidacy?

The first two polls released since Dean Barkley won the Independence Party primary last week still show a very close race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken, with Barkley receiving 13 percent (Minnesota Poll) and 14 percent (SurveyUSA) support among likely voters. While Barkley’s numbers are up about 6 points...

McCain in 2008 Well Ahead of Bush’s 2004 Pace in Minnesota

The new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll of the presidential race finds John McCain performing markedly better than George W. Bush did in the Gopher State in nearly identical surveys conducted four years apart. In the new Strib survey, conducted September 10-12 of 1,106 likely voters, McCain is tied with Barack...

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...



Political Crumbs

Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


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