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Will Minnesotans Split Their Ticket in November?

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Three polls released inside of the last two weeks by the Star Tribune, Humphrey Institute, and Minnesota Public Radio all show DFL US Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar with a significant, double-digit lead over GOP nominee Mark Kennedy. These three polls also show DFL gubernatorial candidate Mike Hatch running neck and neck with Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty.

One reason Pawlenty may be running comparatively strong in his statewide race compared to Kennedy is, of course, the incumbency advantage that he enjoys. However, incumbency aside, it should not come as a surprise that Minnesotans may split their vote come this November.

In half of the eight elections since 1960 in which both gubernatorial and US Senate races were on the ballot, Minnesotans collectively split their ticket—electing one republican and one DFL candidate to these offices four times.

In 1960, 1966, and 1990, the state elected Republican governors (Elmer Andersen, Harold LeVander, Arne Carlson) and DFL senators (Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Paul Wellstone). In 1982, Minnesotans elected DFL Governor Rudy Perpich and GOP Senator Dave Durenberger.

While a lot can change in the next six weeks, 2006 may yet be another year in which the state elects a republican governor and a DFL senator. The Kennedy campaign will not be heartened by this news, but the Pawlenty camp should by now realize the state's schizophrenic political history offers him enough wiggle room to give him a strong chance at keeping his job in St. Paul.

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Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

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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