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

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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 are giving Obama high marks and are optimistic that the new administration can begin to solve some of the economic and foreign policy problems that beset the presidency of George W. Bush.

But what about Republicans?

The latest SurveyUSA poll released last week found Republicans in Minnesota to be giving Obama significant support, and the best notices in the Upper Midwest. Obama scored a net +3 in approval rating among GOPers in Minnesota (40 percent approving, 37 percent disapproving), compared to –11 in Wisconsin and –12 in Iowa.

Obama Presidential Approval Rating Among Upper Midwestern Republicans

State
Approve
Disapprove
Net
Minnesota
40
37
+3
Wisconsin
33
44
-11
Iowa
35
47
-12
Note: Polling conducted by SurveyUSA of 600 adults overall in each state, January 20-21, 2009.

What is even more telling, however, is that Minnesota Republicans have also had a longer journey to reach this plurality support of the President. SurveyUSA polls on the eve of the election found Republicans in Minnesota to be voting against Obama at a much higher rate than Republicans in other Upper Midwestern states.

Presidential Vote Choice Among Upper Midwestern Republicans

State
Obama
McCain
Net
Wisconsin
16
82
-66
Iowa
14
83
-69
Minnesota
10
88
-78
Note: Polling conducted by SurveyUSA of 650+ likely voters overall in each state, October 28-29, 2008 (Iowa and Wisconsin) and October 30 – November 1, 2008 (Minnesota).

Exit polling on Election Day also found Republicans to break in larger numbers against Obama in Minnesota (-83) than in Wisconsin (-79) and Iowa (-81).

Minnesota Republicans also gave Obama the fifth highest approval rating among the 14 states SurveyUSA polled nationwide last week – behind only the liberal coastal states of New York, Massachusetts, Washington, and California. Wisconsin and Iowa ranked 12th and 13th respectively.

Obama Presidential Approval Rating Among Republicans In 14 States

State
Approve
Disapprove
Net
New York
63
25
+38
Massachusetts
54
31
+23
Washington
47
34
+13
California
47
36
+11
Minnesota
40
37
+3
New Mexico
40
40
0
Kansas
39
39
0
Oregon
36
39
-3
Missouri
37
42
-5
Kentucky
36
45
-9
Alabama
34
43
-9
Wisconsin
33
44
-11
Iowa
35
47
-12
Virginia
31
44
-13
Note: Polling conducted by SurveyUSA of 600 adults overall in each state, January 20-21, 2009.

Of course, it is unlikely, if and when Al Franken takes a seat on Capitol Hill later this year, that he will experience such a honeymoon period from Minnesota Republicans as that currently enjoyed by Obama.


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Remains of the Data

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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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