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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.

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Remains of the Data

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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