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Pawlenty Disapproval Numbers Increasing Amid VP Talk

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Although Minnesota Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty is not beloved by all in the Gopher State, he has maintained a consistent level of job approval throughout his gubernatorial tenure. In nearly 60 public opinion polls of Minnesotans conducted since early 2003, Pawlenty has dipped below the 50 percent mark in job approval in less than 10 of them.

Pawlenty enjoyed some of the best marks of his career in 2007, when his most notable actions included a firm stance against the DFL on tax issues in the state. Overall, across more than a dozen polls that year, Pawlenty had an average job approval rating of 56 percent, with just a 40 percent average disapproval rating.

This +16 net rating is very impressive for a governor who never received a majority of the vote in either of his two successful gubernatorial campaigns.

However, as Pawlenty has become part of the constant chatter of possible vice-presidential running mates to John McCain, his ratings have taken a bit of a hit: Pawlenty’s disapproval numbers have averaged 45 percent this year, and his approval numbers have fallen a bit to 53 percent. His net approval rating has been cut in half to +8.

By another measure, Rasmussen has also measured Pawlenty’s rankings as higher in polls conducted at the end of 2007 (50 percent “excellent? + “good? versus 49 percent “fair? + “poor?) than compared to those conducted in 2008 (46 percent “excellent? + “good? versus 54 percent “fair? + “poor?) – a 9-point net approval drop.

It not at all clear that Minnesotans would rally behind Pawlenty as a VP nominee (Minnesotans have sent enough Vice-Presidents to D.C. that perhaps the novelty has worn off). A February 2008 SurveyUSA poll found just 28 percent of Gopher State residents think Pawlenty would be able to effectively campaign for vice president and serve as governor at the same time; 61 percent thought he would not.

Previous post: McCain Making Inroads in Wisconsin
Next post: Pawlenty VP Pick Would Be Rare: Slot Historically Reserved for D.C. Players

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Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

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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