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Minnesota


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,...

MN Senate: Ventura Out, Barkley In, Coleman & Franken Split in Two New Polls

As Jesse Ventura announced he would not challenge Norm Coleman in the 2008 Minnesota U.S. Senate race, two new polls were released revealing vastly different results. Ventura, before Larry King’s national audience on CNN, stated he would not seek Coleman’s Senate seat, giving a variety of reasons along the...

Rasmussen Poll: Obama Up Big in MN, IA, Competitive in the Dakotas

Barack Obama is looking to become the first Democratic candidate to sweep the Upper Midwest since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. New polling by Rasmussen indicates Obama is currently competitive enough in the Dakotas to have a chance at doing just that. In South Dakota, a survey of 500 likely...

The Upper Midwestern Voting Bloc in Presidential Elections

Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have been (correctly) labeled as key battleground states in recent presidential elections. With the exception of George W. Bush’s narrow victory in the Hawkeye State in 2004, the three states have voted as a bloc dating back to 1988, when Michael Dukakis swept the region. However,...

Bush Approval Rating Hits All-Time Low in Minnesota

Buried beneath the new horserace numbers coming from the Quinnipiac poll released today of 1,572 likely Minnesota voters is even more sobering news for President George W. Bush (and, perhaps, John McCain) as he finishes his second term: Bush’s approval rating has dipped to an all-time record low of 24...

Quinnipiac: Obama Breaks Out to Double Digit Leads in MN, WI

Polls released this morning by Quinnipiac University of more than 1,500 likely voters in both Minnesota and Wisconsin show Barack Obama staked to his largest lead to date over John McCain in each battleground state. In Minnesota, the poll (which, due to its large sample size has a margin of...

Why Is Obama Talking About Religion?

Barack Obama's recent comments on religion's problematic role when mixed with government—along with his citation of certain Biblical passages as evidence of this point—have now once again raised the specter of his own religious beliefs. Obama's comments not only renewed his political feud with Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus...

Obama in Iowa and Minnesota: Standing Where Kerry Stood in 2004

Barack Obama has enjoyed not only a lead over John McCain in all but one of more than 25 national polls conducted since early May 2008, but also a consistent advantage in early polling in two key Upper Midwestern battleground states: Iowa and Minnesota. However, Obama's lead in these states—which...

New SurveyUSA Poll: Obama and McCain in Dead Heat in Minnesota

A new SurveyUSA poll of 543 likely voters in Minnesota finds the race for president much closer than the findings from recent polls conducted in the state. In the SurveyUSA poll, John McCain is in a statistical tie with Barack Obama, trailing 47 to 46 percent, with 7 percent undecided....

Historical Snapshot: U.S. House Races in Minnesota

After picking up one seat in the 2006 election, the DFL eyes another in 2008. The retirement of Republican Jim Ramstad, after 18 years of service, opens up a competitive 6th Congressional District. The DFL has enjoyed success in U.S. House races in recent years, particularly since 1976 when Minnesota...

Coleman Retains Small Lead Over Franken; Ventura Candidacy Looms

Norm Coleman continues to lead Al Franken in his defense of his U.S. Senate seat, by 48 to 45 percent, according to a poll of 500 likely voters by Rasmussen. The poll, conducted on Wednesday, June 11th, finds no bounce for Franken coming out of last weekend's DFL convention, in...



Political Crumbs

Six for Thirteen

Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


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