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Obama Approval Rating Holds in Minnesota, Plummets in Iowa and Wisconsin

Although Barack Obama's approval rating has taken an (expected) hit in Minnesota since the beginning of his term, a hit all presidents endure, a new SurveyUSA poll finds Gopher State residents much more patient with the new Democratic president than many states across the nation. A poll of 600 adults,...

Minnesota Has 3rd Lowest Increase in Unemployment Nationwide Since Enactment of Federal Stimulus Bill

As it turns out, the three-tenths of a percent decrease in jobless claims announced last week by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is the backdrop to an even larger story of (relatively) good economic news for Minnesotans. While Minnesota has endured record setting increases in unemployment over...

Unemployment Down in Minnesota and South Dakota, Flat in Wisconsin

New unemployment data released this week for the month of July in Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin provides largely good news on the labor force front in the Upper Midwest. In Minnesota, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 8.4 percent in June to 8.1 percent in July. Minnesota's jobless...

Will Minnesota and Wisconsin Elect Governors from the Same Political Party in 2010?

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle's official announcement on Monday that he would not be seeking a third term created not only a newfound battle for the Democratic nomination, but also a scenario whereby the Badger and Gopher States will both have open gubernatorial races on the Election Day ballot for...

Unemployment Continues to Rise at Historic Pace Across Upper Midwest

June was not a good month for jobs in the Upper Midwest, with unemployment increasing in Minnesota and three of its four neighboring states - Iowa, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. While unemployment remains below the national average across the region, the current rate of increase of jobless claims remains on...

The Honeymoon Is Over: Obama Approval Rating Drops to 51 Percent in Minnesota

After six consecutive months of notching approval ratings between 59 and 65 percent in the Gopher State, President Barack Obama's job performance numbers haven taken a nose-dive in July, in not only Minnesota, but other key battleground states as measured by the polling firm SurveyUSA. SurveyUSA's latest monthly poll was...

Wisconsin Overtakes Minnesota as #1 State in Health Care Quality Rankings

The newly released 2008 state rankings by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) finds the State of Wisconsin has passed Minnesota for overall health care quality in the United States. Minnesota, ranked #2 in 2008, was the top state in...

Pawlenty Unallotment Strategy, Decision Not to Run in 2010 Have Little Impact on Approval Ratings

Just as Tim Pawlenty's announcement that he would use an unallotment strategy to resolve the state's budget crisis had little impact on his approval ratings in late May, his decision to not seek a third term as Minnesota's Governor also seems to have had little impact on his approval ratings...

Minnesota, Wisconsin Lead Nation in Largest Proportion of House Committee Leadership Posts

U.S. Representative John Kline's (MN-02) election this week as the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Education and Labor further established the Gopher State's House delegation as one of the most powerful in the nation. Minnesota now has 3 of its 8 U.S. Representatives holding chairmanships or the...

Minnesota and Upper Midwest Being Spared the Worst of US Job Loss Crisis

While Minnesota and the rest of the Upper Midwestern states are still in the midst of enduring some of the largest unemployment rates each has endured for many years, most of the region is historically doing quite well on the employment front when compared to the situation of the country...

Is Conservatism on the Rise in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest?

While the last two election cycles have seen Upper Midwestern Republicans lose seats in state legislatures, lose seats to the U.S. House, and lose statewide elections for the U.S. Senate and the presidency, the conservative brand seems to be catching fire once again. A Smart Politics analysis of more than...

Wisconsin Unemployment Rate Rises for Record 7th Straight Month

Last week’s news from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development that the state’s unemployment rate had increased from 8.5 percent in March to 8.6 percent in April marked an inauspicious moment for the Badger State’s labor market. Although the rise in seasonally adjusted jobless rate for April was relatively modest,...

Pro-Life Stance on the Rise in Minnesota, Upper Midwest

A Gallup Poll released last Friday made headlines for its finding that a majority of Americans now identify themselves as “pro-life” as opposed to “pro-choice” on the issue of abortion, marking the first time that “pro-life” has been in the majority over the course of the last 15 years...

Should Minnesota's Corrections Budget Be Increased?

The passage of public safety legislation this week in the Senate (SF 802) and House (HF 1162) included a reduction of approximately $100 million of the base budgets across more than a dozen departments – the largest being a $34.2 million cut to the Department of Corrections. However, the bill...

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...



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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