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MN Senate: New HHH Poll Also Finds Double-Digit Lead for Klobuchar

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Excerpts from a report by the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance on its new poll on the Minnesota race for U.S. Senate:

The Democratic Party nominee for U.S. Senate, Amy Klobuchar, holds a commanding advantage over the Republican Party nominee, Mark Kennedy, according to a Humphrey Institute survey of 1,023 Minnesota likely voters in the week following the primary. Kennedy's campaign is being badly hurt by President George Bush's unpopularity and by deep concerns about the direction of the country and state. Klobuchar is strongly benefiting from extraordinary concern over Iraq and a huge lead among women voters even as she holds her own among men. The issue of terrorism works strongly for Kennedy but it is not playing a dominant role in voters' minds as they weigh the country's challenges. Kennedy's difficulties are not at this time pulling down Republican Tim Pawlenty in his bid for reelection as Governor. Voters who support Klobuchar are crossing party lines to support Pawlenty. The survey was conducted between September 13 and 18, 2006.

Large Lead for Klobuchar: The Democratic Party nominee leads Kennedy, 52 percent to 36 percent. In a reversal of the normal pattern, Republican support for Kennedy is weaker than Democratic support for Klobuchar: 14 percent of Republicans have drifted from Kennedy compared to 8 percent who have wandered from Klobuchar. Adding to Kennedy's difficulties, he is trailing Klobuchar by 22 points among independents (49 to 27).

Independent Party candidate Robert Fitzgerald is receiving support from 7 percent of Minnesota likely voters. He faces several challenges. He is currently lagging behind Kennedy and, especially, Klobuchar in winning over independent voters.

Bush Baggage: President Bush's unpopularity and voter concerns about challenges facing Minnesota and nation are weighing down Kennedy's campaign. Among the 60 percent who disapprove of the President's overall job performance, 77 percent favor Klobuchar. On Iraq, 62 percent disapprove of the President's handling of the War (50 percent of them strongly disapprove) and 76 percent of these voters support Klobuchar.

The Political Cost of the Iraq War: Iraq is the preeminent issue facing the country in the minds of likely voters and Klobuchar holds a commanding advantage on it. When asked to identify the single most important national issue, nearly half (45 percent) identify the War in Iraq.

Kennedy's political problem is that on the preeminent national issue on the minds of voters (Iraq), voters much more strongly support Klobuchar. Among the large plurality identifying Iraq as the single most important national issue, 67 percent support the Democrat and only 23 percent favor Kennedy. Kennedy holds an even larger advantage on terrorism (72 percent to 21 percent) but voters are substantially less concerned about it 5 years after the 9/11 attacks.

The Gender Gap: Kennedy is suffering from a huge deficit among women voters. Although Democrats often do better among women, Klobuchar has an unusually large 26-point advantage (59 to 33). Even among men (who tend to support Republican candidates), Klobuchar enjoys a small lead.

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Remains of the Data

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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