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Klobuchar Begins Term With Strong Statewide Support

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The approval ratings are in for Minnesota junior Senator Amy Klobuchar, after only a few weeks on the job in Washington, D.C. The latest SurveyUSA poll finds 56 percent of Minnesotans approve of her job performance in the U.S. Senate, with 30 percent disapproving, and 14 percent having no opinion.

This is an unusually high approval rating for a new Minnesota Senator. One month after Norm Coleman took office in 2003 he had won over just 46 percent of Minnesotans (MN Poll, February 2003). Mark Dayton likewise only had a 41 percent approval rating some three months after he was elected (MN Poll, April 2003).

But Klobuchar's negative job rating (30 percent) is also much higher than that of Coleman (11 percent) and Dayton (12 percent) early in their respective terms.

Therefore, what is most surprising about Klobuchar is the relatively low number of Minnesotans who have yet to form an opinion about her so early in her first term. Frequently it takes several months to a year for a fair portion of the senator's statewide constituency to form an opinion about that senator's job performance. Perhaps Klobuchar's high profile race with (and domination of) Mark Kennedy in last fall's campaign solidified her supporters—as well as detractors—much quicker than normal.

Note: While it is always dangerous to compare data across different pollsters (in this case SurveyUSA vs. the Minnesota Poll), in the case of this particular issue—job approval—the question wording is the same in both polls (although the methods are not: SurveyUSA uses computer-based polling; the Minnesota Poll employs human interviews).

Still, as a point of comparison, Klobuchar has a notably higher approval rating than the three other freshman Senators examined by SurveyUSA: Virginia's Jim Webb (42 percent), Ohio's Sherrod Brown (47 percent), and Missouri's Claire McCaskill (50 percent).

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Remains of the Data

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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