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Upper Midwestern States Contemplate Presidential Primary Dates

As Election 2008 heats up, states across the nation are strategically shuffling their primary and caucus schedules in attempt to become more relevant players in the presidential campaign. Upper Midwestern states are also contemplating changes to their schedules in view of the potential benefits moving up primary voting day would...

Female Legislators in MN At Record High; IA, WI, and SD Lag Behind National Average

Minnesota voters set a record in November 2006 by electing the highest percentage of female legislators to both the state House (43, 32.1 percent) and Senate (27, 40.3 percent) in Gopher State history. Overall, at 34.8 percent, Minnesota ranks 4th in the nation in terms of the highest percentage of...

Global Warming Acknowledged in Upper Midwest

Al Gore's involvement in the documentary An Inconvenient Truth has paid great dividends for the former Vice President—garnering near universal acclaim, and a new platform for the man many in Democratic circles hope to run for President in 2008. Gore has not made that announcement yet, but his musings...

IA, MN, and WI Share Identical View of Bush's Job Performance

Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin will likely remain prized battleground states in the 2008 Presidential election, as they were previously in 2004 and 2000. And while there is still at least a trace of purple in each, these three Upper Midwestern states seem to share a singular view of our current...

Lights Out On Lighting Up? Potential Smoking Bans Considered in MN and WI

Minnesota continues its progressive agenda in guarding its citizens against the ills of smoking tobacco with the introduction of its Freedom to Breathe Act in the legislature. The Act—which has the qualified support of Governor Tim Pawlenty—would essentially ban all smoking statewide in public places and workplaces. Some listed exemptions...

Upper Midwestern US Senators React to State of the Union Address

Several U.S. Senators from the Upper Midwest have released official statements in reaction to President George W. Bush's seventh State of the Union Address from last night. Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa stated he was impressed with Bush's overall leadership and his "very ambitious agenda" to make "America energy independent...

Addresses by Upper Midwest Governors Remarkably Similar

Three gubernatorial addresses conducted this month across the Upper Midwest have been remarkably similar with regards to the main issues raised in the speeches. Republican Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty's State of the State address delivered last week focused on four primary issues—better government, better energy, better health care, and better...

Three Upper Midwestern US Senators Publicly Oppose Bush's New Iraq Strategy

Less than 12 hours after President George W. Bush's address to the nation revealing his new strategy for victory in Iraq—a strategy that included sending more than 21,000 new troops to the region—three Upper Midwestern senators have expressed public disapproval of the President's plan. In a press release, Junior Wisconsin...

Ford Ran Successful Upper Midwest Presidential Campaign in 1976

The passing of our 38th President Gerald Ford prompted Smart Politics to take a look at his 1976 presidential campaign in the Upper Midwest—and the close races he faced with Jimmy Carter that year. Richard Nixon—who had nearly swept the nation's electoral votes in 1972—made a clean sweep of the...

Upper Midwest Representatives Receive New US House Committee Assignments

Earlier this week House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced new Committee assignments for Freshmen members, plus added existing members to new Committees as Democrats increased their membership on Committees with their 30 seat gain in November's election. Starting his 6th term, Ron Kind (WI-03) was assigned to the influential Ways and...

WI State Legislative Shakeup in 2006 At Near Historic Levels

The reclaiming of the Wisconsin state Senate by the Democratic Party received some fanfare last month in the Badger State, but the extent of Democratic pickups in the state Senate and state Assembly is nearly unprecedented over the past half-century of Wisconsin state politics. Democrats had controlled the 33-seat state...

MN vs. WI: Which State Is Most Likely to Vote GOP for President in 2008?

This is an admittedly premature question to be sure—with more than one year before the first presidential primary and only a few politicians from each party officially declaring themselves as candidates for the White House. Nonetheless, in the coming months political strategists and party activists will descend on both...

Wisconsin State Legislative Recount Summary

November's state legislative races yielded a number of very close contests across the Upper Midwest. As a result recounts have commenced in a handful of districts, including four races for Wisconsin's State Assembly where Democrats narrowed a 58-39 GOP advantage to 52-47 going into the recounts. Four recounts were ordered...

A Tale of (Two?) States: Demographic Support for Republican Gubernatorial Candidates in MN and WI Strikingly Similar

The 2006 gubernatorial races in Minnesota and Wisconsin had key similarities: 1-term incumbents defending their seats with job approval rankings hovering around 50%. Pundits viewed seats in both states to be very vulnerable. Despite these similarities, the candidacies of Republican challenger Mark Green in Wisconsin and GOP incumbent Tim Pawlenty...

Gubernatorial Approval Ratings Rise Noticeably After Elections

Approval ratings for all four Upper Midwest governors rose noticeably in polls conducted by SurveyUSA directly after Election Day (November 8-11). All three incumbent governors on the ballot in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota were victorious, and the Democrats retained control of the Iowa executive branch with Chet Culver replacing...

Smart Politics Scorecard, Part II: State Legislative Roundup

The Democratic party scored big wins across Upper Midwest state legislatures on Tuesday night. As projected here at Smart Politics, the Democrats picked up seats in all 8 chambers and took control of three of them: the Iowa House, Wisconsin Senate, and Minnesota House. Some democratic pickups - particularly in...

Upper Midwest State Legislative Projections

The last in a series of election projections, Smart Politics predicts which political party will win control of state legislatures across the Upper Midwest. Democrats are in an advantaged position in most states in each legislative chamber to pick up seats, based on the GOP needing to protect a higher...

Wisconsin Poll Roundup and Smart Politics Projections

Only 1 of 9 races for federal office in the Badger state in 2006 is considered a true 'toss-up': the 8th Congressional district race. But the state does offer a high-profile gubernatorial matchup…plus all those other federal races are just full of 'fun-facts'… WI Governor: One-term incumbent Jim Doyle...

WI-3: GOP Challenger Launches Unforgettable Attack Ad

Campaign attack ads seem to be replacing horserace polls as the lead stories in political news coverage, and Smart Politics is guilty of this behavior as well, at least for today. While the Bachmann-Wetterling (MN-6) race had the early lead as the most viscous in the Upper Midwest, that...

Upper Midwest US House Races Tighten in GOP Held Districts...But Is a Revolution Afoot?

A recent spate of polls tracking US House races in the Upper Midwest reflect what is perceived by most political analysts to be a nation-wide trend: GOP-held districts that were secure in 2004 now seem to be competitive or near competitive. The GOP leads the current Upper Midwest US House...

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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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