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Smart Politics
 


January 2009


How Long Will It Take to Regain the 65,000+ Jobs Lost in Minnesota in 2008?

The near universal legislative support of the unemployment bill signed into law on Thursday by Governor Tim Pawlenty is a first step by the state to address an economic and employment crisis that is escalating at record levels in Minnesota. The bill will extend the unemployment benefits of more than...

House GOP Voter ID Legislation Has Strong Support Statewide

Even though the Voter Integrity Act of 2009 (HF 57) introduced earlier this week by Minnesota Representative Tom Emmer (R-Delano) has been characterized by some in the media as a "politically divisive idea" ("Requiring Voter IDs Is Back on the Agenda," Pioneer Press, 1/26/09), public opinion conducted on the issue...

Pawlenty Invokes Obama and Displays Fancy Footwork On Tax Policy in Budget Presentation

Governor Tim Pawlenty's discussion on the role tax policy should play in the upcoming budget battle during Tuesday afternoon's budget presentation was a near masterful display of how combining the bob and weave with an occasional jab can make a seasoned fighter stay in the ring for many rounds...

Republicans In Minnesota Warming to Obama More Than In Other Upper Midwestern States

Barack Obama is officially in the ‘honeymoon phase’ of his presidency – the 44th president is just one week into his administration with approval ratings through the roof (67 percent in the latest Gallup survey, with just 14 percent disapproving). It is no surprise to learn that Democrats and independents...

The Trial Begins: What Is Norm Coleman's End Game?

The fact that the Minnesota Senate recount has moved to the lawsuit phase is a surprise to no one - with an election decided by a few hundred votes, there is no doubt either candidate who ended up on the short end of the recount would take their case to...

Iowa's Congressional District Map 5th Least Competitive in 17 Decades

Last month Smart Politics profiled the lack of competitiveness generated by Minnesota's currently drawn Congressional District map - a map that has produced the third least percentage of competitive contests in 15 decades in the Gopher State. Minnesota's neighbor to the south, while boasting a more competitive electoral history than...

Minnesota Endures Worst Employment Skid in 30+ Years

Minnesota’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate now stands at 6.9 percent, according to new December 2008 numbers released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The data continues what, by many measures, are the worst statewide jobless numbers since the collection of monthly data by the Department began in...

Tired of War: Minnesotans Not Shy About Changing Presidential Party During Wartime

Now that Barack Obama has been inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States, the question on the minds of many Minnesotans is: "How long do we wait for 'change?'" Obama's campaign for 'change' during the presidential primaries and general election took many forms, from the vague and intangible...

Does Keith Ellison Have a Mandate? Rep. Sets Freshman Re-election Record

If it seems as if Keith Ellison has a free hand with which to cast controversial votes in the U.S. House, such as his 'present' vote for the Israeli-Gaza House resolution, he probably does. The DFL Congressman registered the second largest margin of victory of all time in the 5th...

Stance of Ellison and McCollum On Israeli-Gaza Resolution Shines a Light on Liberal Voting Records

The "present" votes registered by Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum a week ago Friday on the U.S. House resolution to recognize "Israel's right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza, reaffirming the United States' strong support for Israel, and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, stirred up a bit of controversy...

A Content Analysis of Governor Pawlenty's 2008 and 2009 State of the State Addresses

Governor Tim Pawlenty's State of the State Address on Thursday afternoon saw a significant change in the policy issues he raised from his previous address on February 13, 2008. These changes largely reflected the harsh economic reality that has beset both the state and the nation during the past year....

12 Days And Counting: Minnesota Already At 4th Longest Stint Without Two Senators in State History

Since January 3rd, when Norm Coleman's first term as U.S. Senator came to an end, Amy Klobuchar has officially been doing double-duty as the state's lone Senator on Capitol Hill. Klobuchar has stated her office started receiving a noticeable increase in constituency requests beginning in December, to the tune now...

Will the Minnesota-Wisconsin Shared State Services Plan Work?

On Tuesday, Minnesota Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty and Wisconsin Democratic Governor Jim Doyle signed executive orders calling for department heads to identify, by the end of February, "Specific activities, programs, and services ... for potential cooperative service arrangements." The orders were signed to create "Significant improvements to the delivery and...

Coleman Popularity Virtually Unchanged Since Election Day, Despite Recent Poll Headline

Much has been made of the extremely low favorability ratings Norm Coleman (and Al Franken) are enduring in the wake of numbers released in last week's SurveyUSA poll of Minnesotans conducted after the conclusion of the 2008 U.S. Senate recount process. The poll found Coleman's favorability numbers dipping to just...

The Frugal Three: Wisconsin Legislators Reject Annual Pay Increase

In a year that has seen rising unemployment, a volatile stock market, and increasing state and federal budget deficits, the backlash on talk radio and in print against legislators in D.C. and at state capitols for receiving pay raises has been pronounced. The idea that the nation’s legislators who are...

How to Save Minnesota's U.S. House Seat: More Teenage Mothers?

Last month Smart Politics examined the political impact on the state of Minnesota should it lose one U.S. House seat as projected by many analysts, including a recent report issued by Election Data Services. Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data detailing the teenage...

U.S. Senate Race Ends Up 12 Votes Shy of '62 Gubernatorial Margin of Victory Record

With the final results (court challenge pending) certified by the State Canvassing Board on Monday finding Al Franken with a 225-vote victory over Norm Coleman, the 2008 U.S. Senate race nearly eclipsed the 1962 gubernatorial election as the closest high-profile statewide election in Gopher State history. For 46 years and...

How Opposed Are Minnesotans To Tax Increases?

With the start of the new legislative session officially underway, the clock has begun to tick on the likely showdown between Governor Tim Pawlenty and the DFL-controlled legislature as to whether tax increases should be a part of the solution to solve the state’s $5 billion budget deficit. The DFL...

Will Al Franken Be the Favorite in 2014?

Presuming Al Franken is eventually seated as the junior Senator from Minnesota sometime this year, the Republican Party will no doubt soon be gearing up to plan his political demise in 2014 - whether with Norm Coleman in a rematch or against another GOP opponent. Of course, assessing the likelihood...

Franken's (Apparent) Victory Is 4th Weakest U.S. Senate Performance in DFL History

Throughout his U.S. Senate campaign, Al Franken was dogged by criticisms, even peppered from within his own party, that he was a 'weak candidate' for the DFL. These criticisms took many forms, such as stern words regarding Franken's writings and temperament from respected DFL U.S. Representative Betty McCollum to...

Franken Has Big Edge in County Distribution of Absentee Ballots

Al Franken's 49-vote lead is expected by nearly all analysts to increase after the tabulation of wrongly excluded absentee ballots by the Canvassing Board this weekend. The final, hard data is now in to confirm these suspicions. Of the 953 ballots sent by the state's 87 counties to the Board,...