With the 2008 general election just about seven months away, Minnesotans are very wary about the state of the nation's economy, and appear to be ready to vote for a candidate who can best protect their pocketbook.
The percentage of Gopher State residents who view the U.S. economy as 'excellent' or 'good' is now just one-third of what it was 1.5 years ago, according to polling by Rasmussen. In November 2006, 42 percent of likely voters in the state had a rosy view of the nation's economy, with 57 percent rating it as 'fair' or 'poor.' But, in a new poll released last week of 500 likely voters, the percentage viewing the economy as 'excellent' or 'good' dropped to just 14 percent.
Nor do Minnesotans expect the economy to stabilize or improve any time soon: just 6 percent believe national economic conditions are going to improve and 12 percent believe they will stay the same; a whopping 76 percent believe the economy is going to take an even larger turn for the worse.
Polling research from the Humphrey Institute in the last presidential election cycle found Minnesotans believe the best way for the economy to improve was to reduce the budget deficit: 49 percent thought reducing the budget deficit was the best method, while 30 percent believed cutting taxes was the correct remedy (15 percent believed the answer rests 'in between').
To be sure, John McCain and the future Democratic presidential nominee will need to address economic concerns in their campaign platforms to win over voters in Minnesota. Economic concerns have ranked as the most important issue affecting presidential vote choice in Rasmussen polls conducted both in early February before the caucuses and in the brand new poll conducted on March 19th.
Most important issue affecting presidential vote choice (Rasmussen, 500 LV)
Economy = 39%
The War in Iraq = 20%
National security = 11%
Health care = 9%
Immigration = 8%
Government ethics and corruption = 5%
Social Security = 3%
Other = 2%
Note: closed question format.