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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...

Charles Grassley: Folksiness with an Edge

At 75 years old, the longest elected U.S. Senator in Iowa history, the 11th most senior member of the U.S. Senate, and having cast more than 10,000 votes in Capitol Hill's upper chamber, Republican Senator Charles Grassley is just getting started. Or so it seems. Now 34+ years into...

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...

What Do Iowans Think About Gay Marriage?

The Iowa Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to uphold an August 2007 lower-court decision that found the Hawkeye State law limiting marriage to a man and a woman unconstitutional is not likely to be met with strong support statewide, according to public opinion polls of Iowans conducted during the last...

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...

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...

Minnesotans' Approval of Obama Holds Steady As Support Wanes Nationwide

Barack Obama began the first week of his presidency with nearly 70 percent of the American public approving of his early job performance. One month later, while Obama’s approval rating has dipped by double-digit margins in many states, Minnesotans are sticking behind the man they elected president on November 4th....

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...

Iowa's Congressional District Map 5th Least Competitive in 17 Decades

Last month Smart Politics profiled the lack of competitiveness generated by Minnesota's currently drawn Congressional District map - a map that has produced the third least percentage of competitive contests in 15 decades in the Gopher State. Minnesota's neighbor to the south, while boasting a more competitive electoral history than...

How to Save Minnesota's U.S. House Seat: More Teenage Mothers?

Last month Smart Politics examined the political impact on the state of Minnesota should it lose one U.S. House seat as projected by many analysts, including a recent report issued by Election Data Services. Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data detailing the teenage...

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...



Political Crumbs

Mary Burke: English First?

While multiculturalism and bilingualism are increasingly en vogue in some quarters as the world seemingly becomes a smaller place, one very high profile 2014 Democratic candidate does not shy away from the fact that she only speaks one language: English. In an attempt to highlight her private sector credentials working for Trek Bicycle, Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mary Burke boasts on her campaign bio page how she made great strides in international business dealings...while only speaking English: "Despite not speaking a single foreign language, she established sales and distribution operations in seven countries over just three years." Note: According to 2010 Census data, nearly half a million Wisconsinites over five years old speak a language other than English at home, or 8.7 percent, while 4.6 percent of Badger State residents do not speak English at all.


Does My Key Still Work?

Much has been made about Charlie Crist's political transformation from Republican to independent to Democrat en route to winning the Florida GOP and Democratic gubernatorial nominations over a span of eight years. Party-switching aside, Crist is also vying to become just the second Florida governor to serve two interrupted terms. Democrat William Bloxham was the first - serving four year terms from 1881 to 1885 and then 1897 to 1901. Florida did not permit governors serving consecutive terms for most of its 123 years prior to changes made in its 1968 constitution. Since then four have done so: Democrats Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles and Republican Jeb Bush.


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