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Smart Politics
 


October 2006


Hatch Builds Lead in New Humphrey Institute Poll

Excerpts from a new report by the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance on its latest poll on the Minnesota Governor's race: Even though the race remains too close to call, Attorney General Mike Hatch has opened up a narrow 6 point lead over Governor Tim Pawlenty,...

Reader Request: MN Candidate Positions On Illegal Immigration

In response to a reader request, today Smart Politics outlines the stands taken (or not taken) by Minnesota candidates on the issue of illegal immigration in the races for Governor and US Senator. The gubernatorial race has been largely silent on the issue of illegal immigration during most of...

WI-3: GOP Challenger Launches Unforgettable Attack Ad

Campaign attack ads seem to be replacing horserace polls as the lead stories in political news coverage, and Smart Politics is guilty of this behavior as well, at least for today. While the Bachmann-Wetterling (MN-6) race had the early lead as the most viscous in the Upper Midwest, that...

Choosing Sides: The Decline of Independents

With the 2006 elections being cited as most expensive in U.S. history, filled with some of the nastiest campaign ads ever, one might expect to find increased disgust among the electorate for the two major parties responsible for these campaigns, especially by those who only weakly identify themselves with...

MN House: GOP at a Disadvantage

After losing thirteen seats in the Minnesota State House in 2004, the republicans hold a slim 68-66 advantage over their rival DFL. Even if one puts aside the fact that the state (and national) climate is trending democratic in recent months, the GOP is already in a disadvantaged position to...

MN-08: An Intriguing Matchup

Minnesota's 8th Congressional District (comprising the northeastern Iron Range counties), is home to one of the more unusual Congressional races this year, in which DFL incumbent James Obserstar, the senior member of Minnesota's US House delegation, is being challenged by Republican Rod Grams, a former US Representative in his own...

Religion and Minnesota Politics

The relationship between religion and politics should fascinate even the most casual political observer. (In recent weeks religion has become an interesting sidebar in the 6th District US House race—a matter best saved for another blog entry). Karl Rove—President George W. Bush's trusted political strategist in the White House—is credited...

Cable Television News Election Forecasts

To whom are you turning to get your Election 2006 news? On cable television, the horserace coverage that dominated the summer season (e.g. the U.S. Senate races in Virginia and Connecticut) has, in recent weeks, been replaced by more generalized, sweeping coverage in which many hosts and pundits are making...

MN-02: Rowley Closes Gap

Coleen Rowley, the DFL candidate in Minnesota's 2nd US House district, has closed her deficit to 2-term GOP incumbent John Kline from 20 to 8 points in less than three weeks, according to polls released by SurveyUSA in late September and mid-October. The poll's media sponsor is KSTP-TV Channel...

Upper Midwest US House Races Tighten in GOP Held Districts...But Is a Revolution Afoot?

A recent spate of polls tracking US House races in the Upper Midwest reflect what is perceived by most political analysts to be a nation-wide trend: GOP-held districts that were secure in 2004 now seem to be competitive or near competitive. The GOP leads the current Upper Midwest US House...

Split Ticket Voting Revisited

I co-authored a report on Split Ticket Voting released today at the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance. The popular lore is that Americans and Minnesotans are sharply divided into Republican "red" and Democratic "blue." Although the divisions are clear, there are also a significant number of voters...

Who's Looking On the Sunny Side of Life?

The Midwest…the heartland of America…where caustic coastal cynicism has not yet taken root and a hearty optimism about life in these United States still prevails. Syrupy, true, but that description about life in the Upper Midwest sounds like it might once have been plausible. But, of course, this description simply...

MN: The Decline of Independents?

As previously mentioned at Smart Politics (October 2, 2006), Minnesota has led the Upper Midwest in successful third party candidacies for more than a decade. Third parties spring up for a number of reasons, not the least of which is a decline in identification with the two major parties. During...

Abortion Policy: An Upper Midwestern Snapshot

In South Dakota a landmark petitioned referendum will be on the ballot this November, asking voters whether or not to uphold the recently signed State House Bill's abortion ban. Mid-summer polling on the referendum—which does not provide exceptions for rape and incest—suggests the referendum may not pass, with those inclined...

Bush Drag Not Affecting All Republicans

One of the greatest fears facing republican strategists in the 2006 election is that the decline in George W. Bush's approval ratings during the past few years is going to drag fellow republican incumbents down with him. While not all of Bush's rankings are in the red (his approval...

US House Redistricting: Iowa Gets Lowest Marks for Proportionality

In the coming year or so states will begin to outline plans for the redistricting process that will go into effect in 2012 after the 2010 Census results. One way to measure the 'success' of these processes is to examine to what extent the proportion of votes cast for...

Voter Turnout Uncertain for 2006 Election

A handful of scandals in Washington during the past year as well as low approval ratings for Congress in general lead one to speculate whether voters will be turned off by politics and stay home in November, or motivated to—as some pundits claim—'throw all the bums out.' Minnesota and the...

Third Parties: Minnesota Leads the Pace in US House Races

Minnesota's historical success of placing third party candidates on the ballot usually begins and ends with Jesse Ventura. In a report released earlier this summer, the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance also showed Ventura's legacy in sustaining third party success in the state. 'Success' is, of course,...