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Minnesotans' Outlook on U.S. Economy Quite Bleak

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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.

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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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