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New MPR / HHH Poll Finds Clinton, McCain with Edge in Minnesota

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A Minnesota Public Radio / Humphrey Institute survey of 917 Minnesotans conducted January 20-27 finds Hillary Clinton and John McCain with an edge in the presidential nomination race in the Gopher State (view the report). The pollsters note the survey was not conducted among likely caucus voters, so expect some fluidity in the race, especially in light of the recent departures by Rudy Giuliani and John Edwards.

On the Democratic side, Clinton led Obama 40 to 33 percent, with 12 percent for Edwards and 13 percent undecided. Clinton led Obama by a whopping 56 to 17 percent margin three months ago in a SurveyUSA poll, so Obama seems to have made great inroads in Minnesota and is definitely in play here.

On the Republican side, McCain led Mike Huckabee 41 to 22 percent, with 17 percent for Mitt Romney, 6 percent for Giuliani, 5 percent for Ron Paul, and 10 percent undecided. Several GOP candidates have already been running media spots in Minnesota—including Huckabee and Paul. Three months ago SurveyUSA found Giuliani with nearly half of the support of Republican registered voters in the state (47 percent) with no other candidate above 20 percent.

The survey also found Clinton and Obama handily leading McCain, Huckabee, and Romney in all head-to-head matchups.

Clinton led McCain 48 to 38 percent, Huckabee 55 to 31 percent, and Romney 55 to 32 percent. Clinton has led Romney in all 12 previous matchup polls by SurveyUSA and Rasmussen as well as all 4 previous matchup contests against Huckabee measured by SurveyUSA. Past poll results have found the New York and Arizona Senators locked in closer battles in the Gopher State, with McCain leading Clinton by 4 points in a SurveyUSA poll conducted 10 days ago.

Obama led McCain by a slightly larger margin (50 to 37 percent) and doubled-up on Huckabee (58 to 28 percent) and Romney (56 to 28 percent). Obama has led Romney and Huckabee in all previous public polling matchups. SurveyUSA, however, has previously measured McCain ahead of Obama in Minnesota, in November (46 to 43 percent), December (50 to 41 percent), and mid-January (49 to 42 percent).

The caucuses will be held in Minnesota on Super Tuesday, February 5th.

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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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