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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...

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...

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Political Crumbs

Haugh to Reach New Heights

The North Carolina U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis may go down to the wire next Tuesday, but along the way Libertarian nominee Sean Haugh is poised to set a state record for a non-major party candidate. Haugh, who previously won 1.5 percent of the vote in the Tar Heel State's 2002 race, has polled at or above five percent in 10 of the last 12 polls that included his name. The current high water mark for a third party or independent candidate in a North Carolina U.S. Senate election is just 3.3 percent, recorded by Libertarian Robert Emory back in 1992. Only one other candidate has eclipsed the three percent mark - Libertarian Christopher Cole with 3.1 percent in 2008.


Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


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