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Obama's New Stem Cell Policy Likely to Have Strong Support in Minnesota

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President Barack Obama's decision on Monday to permit federal funds for a greater spectrum of embryonic stem cell research is likely to be met with overwhelming support in the Gopher State, as well as the Upper Midwest generally.

Obama's directive overturns his predecessor's policy that limited the use of federal taxpayer dollars to simply the 21 stem cell lines that had been 'harvested' prior to former President George W. Bush's 2001 executive order.

Polling by SurveyUSA conducted on this issue just shy of 1.5 years ago (in October 2007), found more than twice as many Minnesotans supported stem cell research generally (63 percent) than those that opposed it (27 percent).

The results were quite similar in the neighboring states of Iowa (66 percent in support, 28 percent in opposition) and Wisconsin (64 percent in favor, 29 percent opposed).

Like the issue of abortion rights, partisan support for stem cell research finds Democrats overwhelmingly in favor of the policy, as well as a majority of independents. But opposition by Republicans tends to be slightly more muted than that on abortion, and, as a result, support for stem cell research across the political spectrum is a good shade stronger than that of abortion rights.

For example, in recent years notable Republican leaders like conservative Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and former First Lady Nancy Reagan lobbied the George W. Bush administration to permit federal funding of stem cell research. Hatch's rationale was that, "Stem cell research facilitates life...Abortion destroys life; this is about saving lives."

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Remains of the Data

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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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