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Minnesota, Western States Lead Nation in Male Population; Vote for GOP Governors

In one of the quirkier statistical findings reported by this blog, a new Smart Politics analysis of Census Bureau data finds that all twelve states in the country in which the male population is equal to or greater than that of the female population are located west of the Mississippi...

Fact Check: Is Stephanie Herseth Sandlin a "Radical Liberal?"

Last Thursday the South Dakota Republican Party launched a new website called "Stop Stephanie," designed to attack 4-term At-large Democrat U.S. Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. Herseth Sandlin - a virtual lock for a 5th term should she decide to run again in 2010 - is also a rumored candidate...

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...

South Dakota Unemployment Rate Drops for First Time in 18 Months

In what may be the Upper Midwest’s first sign of the beginning of the end of its economic recession, the South Dakota Department of Labor announced on Wednesday that the Mount Rushmore State’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate had fallen to 4.8 percent for the month of April. While that drop...

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...

South Dakota Unemployment Rate Reaches 23+ Year High

South Dakota’s Department of Labor announced the state’s new March 2009 unemployment numbers Wednesday morning – numbers which find the Mouth Rushmore State enduring its highest jobless rate in more than 23 years. The seasonally adjusted March 2009 unemployment rate of 4.9 percent is the highest in South Dakota since...

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...

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...

Heading (North) West, Young Man? Not So Fast, Minnesota

What with Minnesota's unemployment rate and per capita 2010 budget deficit the largest in the entire Upper Midwestern region, one wonders if Gopher State residents will soon look to the purportedly thriving Dakotas to find economic shelter during these trying times. North Dakota's booming oil business received a lot of...

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 -...

South Dakota Suffers Record Unemployment Jump in January

Although South Dakota has not yet been hit by the scale of job losses experienced across the nation or the Upper Midwest, the new January numbers released on Friday by the state’s Department of Labor indicate South Dakota, like its neighbor to the east, is experiencing its worst unemployment trend...

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...

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...

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...

Obama's Near Misses Northwest of the Mississippi

Barack Obama's convincing victory on Election Day was noted for several strong performances West of the Mississippi - picking up New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada as well as taking back Iowa, which had flipped to the GOP in 2004. Obama also turned in particularly impressive performances in Montana and the...

Election Night Observations

9:20 p.m. There have not been any shockers on Election Night so far, but there have been a few surprises on the presidential race: 1. Ohio being called so quickly for Barack Obama (about 90 minutes after polls closed) and North Dakota being called so quickly for John McCain (the...

Upper Midwestern Election Results Links

To track updated state and federal election results for the Upper Midwest, visit these links: Iowa: Secretary of State Minnesota: Secretary of State South Dakota: Secretary of State Wisconsin: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel...

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Political Crumbs

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.


Two Dakotas, One Voice?

For each of the last 24 presidential elections since 1920, North and South Dakota have voted in unison - casting their ballots for the same nominee. For 21 of these cycles (including each of the last 12 since 1968) Republicans carried the Dakotas with just three cycles going to the Democrats (1932, 1936, and 1964). This streak stands in contrast to the first few decades after statehood when North and South Dakota supported different nominees in four of the first seven cycles. North Dakota narrowly backed Populist James Weaver in 1892 while South Dakota voted for incumbent Republican Benjamin Harrison. In 1896, it was North Dakota backing GOPer William McKinley while South Dakota supported Democrat William Jennings Bryan by less than 200 votes. North Dakota voted Democratic in 1912 and 1916 supporting Woodrow Wilson while South Dakota cast its Electoral College votes for Progressive Teddy Roosevelt and Republican Charles Hughes respectively.


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