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Is Minnesota the Most Democratic-Friendly State in the Midwest?

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Smart Politics recently examined Governor Tim Pawlenty's approval rating and highlighted its remarkable strength and stability in the face of the current economic crisis. But Pawlenty's popularity is also noteworthy when viewed in the greater partisan environment of the Gopher State.

A Smart Politics analysis of state and federal officeholders across the 12-state Midwest region finds Minnesota is the most Democratic-friendly, despite failing to elect a Democrat to lead its state in nearly 25 years. No Midwestern state has elected a higher percentage of Democrats to state and federal office than has Minnesota, with two-thirds of such offices currently occupied by DFLers.

The U.S. Census Bureau classifies the country into four different regions, with 12 states comprising the Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Studying the most recent electoral results in these 12 states, Minnesota has the highest percentage of Democrats in its state legislature, is tied for the second highest percentage of Democrats in its delegation to the U.S. House, and has elected the third largest percentage of Democrats in statewide elections, pending the final outcome of the 2008 U.S. Senate race.

Minnesota is the only Midwestern state to rank in the top 10 most Democratic legislatures in the country. With DFLers comprising 66.2 percent of all legislators in the State Senate and House, Minnesota ranks as the most Democratic in the region and 9th most Democratic in the nation. Only two other states in the Midwest, Illinois (#17, 60.5 percent) and Iowa (#22, 58.7 percent), rank among the Top 25 most Democratic legislatures in the country.

Seats Won in Midwestern District Elections: State Legislatures

Rank
State
DEM
GOP
Other
% DEM
1
Minnesota
133
68
0
66.2
2
Illinois
107
70
0
60.5
3
Iowa
88
62
0
58.7
4
Michigan
84
64
0
56.8
5
Wisconsin
70
61
1
53.0
6
Ohio
65
67
0
49.2
7
Indiana
69
81
0
46.0
8
Missouri
85
112
0
43.1
9
North Dakota
57
84
0
40.4
10
South Dakota
38
66
1
36.2
11
Nebraska*
17
32
0
34.7
12
Kansas
57
108
0
34.5
Note: Nebraska has a unicameral, non-partisan legislature. Legislators are identified as Republicans or Democrats for informational purposes only.

In elections to the U.S. House of Representatives, Minnesota is tied with Wisconsin for the 2nd largest percentage of Democrats serving statewide in the region (5 of 8 Representatives, 62.5 percent) - just seven-tenths of a percent behind Illinois (12 of 19, 63.2 percent).

The GOP has not held a majority of the U.S. House delegation in the Gopher State since the 1980 election. In the 2008 elections, Republican U.S. House candidates received their lowest vote percentage statewide since 1934.

Seats Won in Midwestern District Elections: U.S. House

Rank
State
DEM
GOP
% DEM
1
Illinois
12
7
63.2
2
Minnesota
5
3
62.5
2
Wisconsin
5
3
62.5
4
Iowa
3
2
60.0
5
Indiana
5
4
55.6
5
Ohio
10
8
55.6
7
Michigan
8
7
53.3
8
Missouri
4
5
44.4
9
Kansas
1
3
25.0
10
Nebraska
0
3
0.0
Note: At-large U.S. House elections for North and South Dakota compiled in statewide election data below.

Minnesota also ranks near the top of the bluest states in the Midwest for statewide contests (elections for President, U.S. Senator, Governor, and all other Constitutional offices). Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty is the only GOPer to have won statewide elected office in Minnesota since 2006, with DFL candidates winning 5 of 6 contests (83.3 percent): President, U.S. Senate (2006), Attorney General, Auditor, and Secretary of State.

Minnesota trails only Illinois (8 of 8 contests) and Wisconsin (6 of 7) as the most Democratic-tilted states by this measure. However, if DFLer Al Franken prevails in the 2008 U.S. Senate election, Minnesota will tie Wisconsin for the 2nd largest percentage of Democrat candidates elected statewide.

Offices Won in Midwestern Statewide Elections

Rank
State
DEM
GOP
% DEM
1
Illinois
8
0
100.0
2
Wisconsin*
6
1
85.7
3
Minnesota**
5
1
83.3
4
Ohio
6
2
75.0
5
Missouri
6
3
66.7
5
Iowa
6
3
66.7
5
Michigan
4
2
66.7
8
North Dakota*
4
11
26.7
9
Kansas
2
6
25.0
10
Indiana
2
7
22.2
11
South Dakota
2
10
16.7
12
Nebraska
1
7
12.5
Note: Includes winners of the most recent elections for Constitutional officers, U.S. Senate (x 2), and the presidency. For North and South Dakota it also includes at-large U.S. House elections. * North Dakota's and Wisconsin's Superintendent of Public Instruction are nonpartisan offices. ** Does not include the winner of the 2008 Minneosta U.S. Senate election contest.

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2 Comments


  • I have to ask why are the democrats not protecting my Constitutional Rights? This is not funny and I am not laughing. The argument between the sexes is a joke and so is the 14 Amendment to the Constitution. If you want to make or use that argument you must let the door swing both ways. Yet, the democrats fail miserably in this area. Uphold the Constitution and stop giving extra rights to women. I know that you do not want to admit or agree that the men in this state continue to be treated differently. I want equality I want to have all of the bennies that the women in this country have. So, once again I have to leave you with one thought open the same doors to me that you would a woman.You take an oath to uphold the Constitution yet you do not do it. The year is 2013 not 1930.

  • There are two things wrong with what the previous commenter felt he had to say.

    1) He used the word "bennies" instead of benefits.

    2) He attempted to say women have the upper hand over men (which is obviously not true) and he concluded his statements by saying "The year is 2013 not 1930." I think it's pretty obvious who is acting like it's 1930. Let's just say anyone who says "Uphold the constitution and stop giving extra rights to women" is nothing better than the men in the 1930's who fought against women and their rights.

    So, Randy Walkins. I have one thing to say: The year is 2013 not 1930. Women are getting closer to having equal rights as you. Get over it.

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

    Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

    Political Crumbs

    Six for Thirteen

    Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


    Seeing Red

    Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


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