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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

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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