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Iowa Least Affected by Unemployment Increases in the Upper Midwest

Although the unemployment numbers released during the past week by Iowa Workforce Development find the Hawkeye State with its highest seasonally adjusted jobless rate since December 1987, Iowans are not losing their jobs at the rate endured by other Upper Midwestern states. At 5.2 percent, Iowa's current unemployment rate is...

Wisconsin Unemployment Rate Eclipses Minnesota for First Time Since Summer 2007

For those wondering why Wisconsin’s evaluation of the job performance of President Barack Obama, its Governor, Jim Doyle, and its U.S. Senators, Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold, has been quite critical in recent months, one may only need to stop and consider the record-setting trend in unemployment the Badger State...

Upper Midwestern States Bearing the Brunt of Rising Unemployment

Although the majority of Upper Midwestern states are currently experiencing some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, the rate of increase, particularly during the last four months, has hit this region of the country particularly hard. Overall, three of the five states with the lowest unemployment rates in...

Is Minnesota the Most Democratic-Friendly State in the Midwest?

Smart Politics recently examined Governor Tim Pawlenty's approval rating and highlighted its remarkable strength and stability in the face of the current economic crisis. But Pawlenty's popularity is also noteworthy when viewed in the greater partisan environment of the Gopher State. A Smart Politics analysis of state and federal officeholders...

Obama Sustains Early Support in Minnesota; Falters in Wisconsin and Iowa

SurveyUSA’s latest round of approval ratings for President Barack Obama have been released for a dozen states across the country, in polling conducted March 20-22 of 600 adults in each state. Although the President has had a consistently higher job performance rating during the first three months of his tenure...

Upper Midwest House Members Vote 18-5 in Favor of TARP Bailout Bonus Tax

On Thursday, Upper Midwestern U.S. House Democrats unanimously supported a bill that would impose an additional tax on bonuses received from certain Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) recipients. The measured passed 328 to 93 in the lower chamber. The bill (HR 1586) taxes at 90 percent bonuses given to employees...

Jobless Claims Rate of Increase Slowed Across Upper Midwest in February

Preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment data for the month of February 2009 was released on Wednesday and Thursday for three Upper Midwestern states, with each showing a reduction in the rate of growth of jobless claims. While unemployment rates continued to rise in all three states since January, each state was...

Minnesota Legislature Ranks Near Bottom in Proportional Representation of African-Americans

Although Minnesota has the 4th highest percentage of women serving in state legislatures nationwide, the Gopher State only ranks 40th in the country in terms of proportional representation of African-Americans in St. Paul. Out of the 201 legislators in the State House and Senate, only 2 members are black -...

Obama's New Stem Cell Policy Likely to Have Strong Support in Minnesota

President Barack Obama's decision on Monday to permit federal funds for a greater spectrum of embryonic stem cell research is likely to be met with overwhelming support in the Gopher State, as well as the Upper Midwest generally. Obama's directive overturns his predecessor's policy that limited the use of federal...

Minnesota Ranks 4th in the Nation in Electing Women to State Legislatures

Unlike its Upper Midwestern neighbors, Minnesota continues to be among the nation's leading states in electing women to state legislative office, according an analysis by Smart Politics of data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. For the second straight election cycle, 34.8 percent of Representatives and Senators in...

Pawlenty Approval Rating Sinks to Lowest Level Since October 2006

Perhaps it is due to the Governor presiding over record spikes in unemployment statewide. Perhaps it is the Governor's stated opposition to the federal stimulus legislation that landed Minnesota billions of dollars. Or perhaps the Governor is losing his public relations battle with the DFL leadership in St. Paul over...

Governor Doyle Would Make History By Winning 3rd Term

Just like Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty would make history in the Gopher State if he won a third term (making him the longest ever serving Governor in the state), Governor Jim Doyle would also make history in Wisconsin if he should run and win a third term. A successful...

No Excuses? Minnesota's Unemployment Rate Less Tied to National Economy Than That of Wisconsin and Iowa

As December’s unemployment numbers demonstrate, Minnesota continues to endure a skyrocketing rate of job losses, especially when compared to its neighbors to the south and west. To the west, North Dakota and South Dakota have the second and third lowest unemployment rates in the nation, at 3.5 percent and 3.9...

How Bad Are Things In Minnesota, Really?

From the rising unemployment numbers to the state budget crisis, the news in Minnesota seems to be getting worse and worse. Adding insult to injury came the recent news last week that Minneapolis ranked as the fourth least desirable metropolitan area to where Americans would like to move out of...

Republicans In Minnesota Warming to Obama More Than In Other Upper Midwestern States

Barack Obama is officially in the ‘honeymoon phase’ of his presidency – the 44th president is just one week into his administration with approval ratings through the roof (67 percent in the latest Gallup survey, with just 14 percent disapproving). It is no surprise to learn that Democrats and independents...

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...

The Frugal Three: Wisconsin Legislators Reject Annual Pay Increase

In a year that has seen rising unemployment, a volatile stock market, and increasing state and federal budget deficits, the backlash on talk radio and in print against legislators in D.C. and at state capitols for receiving pay raises has been pronounced. The idea that the nation’s legislators who are...

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...

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...

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...

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Political Crumbs

Final Four Has Presidential Approval

By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


Three for the Road

A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


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