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Smart Politics
 


May 2009


Minnesota and Upper Midwest Being Spared the Worst of US Job Loss Crisis

While Minnesota and the rest of the Upper Midwestern states are still in the midst of enduring some of the largest unemployment rates each has endured for many years, most of the region is historically doing quite well on the employment front when compared to the situation of the country...

Is Conservatism on the Rise in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest?

While the last two election cycles have seen Upper Midwestern Republicans lose seats in state legislatures, lose seats to the U.S. House, and lose statewide elections for the U.S. Senate and the presidency, the conservative brand seems to be catching fire once again. A Smart Politics analysis of more than...

Wisconsin Unemployment Rate Rises for Record 7th Straight Month

Last week’s news from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development that the state’s unemployment rate had increased from 8.5 percent in March to 8.6 percent in April marked an inauspicious moment for the Badger State’s labor market. Although the rise in seasonally adjusted jobless rate for April was relatively modest,...

Pro-Life Stance on the Rise in Minnesota, Upper Midwest

A Gallup Poll released last Friday made headlines for its finding that a majority of Americans now identify themselves as “pro-life” as opposed to “pro-choice” on the issue of abortion, marking the first time that “pro-life” has been in the majority over the course of the last 15 years...

Iowa Unemployment Rate Falls for First Time in Nearly Three Years

New numbers released this week by Iowa Workforce Development find the Hawkeye State joining Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota in seeing a slight drop in the unemployment rate for the month of April. Iowa’s jobless rate fell from 5.2 in March to 5.1 percent – marking the first drop...

North Dakota Unemployment Rate Falls to Record 4.9 points Below National Average

For the second consecutive month, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has fallen in the State of North Dakota - providing further evidence of at least a lull in, if not a cessation to, the bad economic news that has befallen the Upper Midwest during the past year. April's jobless rate...

Minnesota Unemployment Rate Drops for First Time Since May '08

On the heels of the positive developments in South Dakota, which also saw its unemployment rate drop in April, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced on Thursday morning that the Gopher State’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate fell by 0.1 percentage points to 8.1 percent. The slight employment...

South Dakota Unemployment Rate Drops for First Time in 18 Months

In what may be the Upper Midwest’s first sign of the beginning of the end of its economic recession, the South Dakota Department of Labor announced on Wednesday that the Mount Rushmore State’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate had fallen to 4.8 percent for the month of April. While that drop...

The 'W' Word: Seifert Says DFL Ran the Legislature Like Democrats in Washington

In his final media availability at the Capitol for 2009, House GOP Minority Leader Marty Seifert cast a very critical look in his (Tuesday) morning quarterbacking of the 86th Legislative session for 2009. Calling it "a session of lost opportunity," Seifert continuously employed downbeat prose in his review of the...

Minnesota Legislature on Pace for Most Days in Session by Decade

One of the reasons cited by Governor Tim Pawlenty in his recent declaration that there will be no special session this year to resolve the state's budget crisis, is that he does not believe residents of the Gopher State should endure the additional costs associated with calling the legislature into...

Republicans in Competitive Districts Opposed Pogemiller Redistricting Bill; Safe GOPers Supported Reform

When DFL Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller saw his redistricting reform bill (SF 182) pass on a 39-28 roll call vote last Friday, he nearly needed one of the five votes cast by Republicans in favor of the bill. While a nearly equal amount of DFLers voted against the bill...

Pogemiller Delivers on Redistricting Reform; SF 182 Passes Senate Floor Vote

While the thunder of Governor Tim Pawlenty's new unallotment strategy drew all the attention of Capitol watchers on Thursday and Friday, the Senate, under the leadership of DFL Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller (SD59-Minneapolis), passed a redistricting bill that will perhaps have an even greater consequence on Minnesota politics than any...

A Historical Snapshot of Minnesota's Legislative Special Sessions

Governor Tim Pawlenty delivered a shot across the DFL's bow Thursday afternoon, or perhaps it was the dropping of an A-bomb, when he declared there would be no special sessions to resolve the state's budget matters and that, if need be, he would use his executive power of line-item vetoes...

Should Minnesota's Corrections Budget Be Increased?

The passage of public safety legislation this week in the Senate (SF 802) and House (HF 1162) included a reduction of approximately $100 million of the base budgets across more than a dozen departments – the largest being a $34.2 million cut to the Department of Corrections. However, the bill...

Governor Pawlenty: Good for Minnesota Twins Baseball?

While Tim Pawlenty struggles to deal with soaring budget deficits and historic rates in the increase of unemployment statewide, there is at least one positive issue he can take to the electorate should he seek an unprecedented third four-year term as Governor of the Gopher State: a vote for Pawlenty...

Jesse Ventura Lobbies for Ambassador Post to Cuba

Former Governor Jesse Ventura appeared on Larry King Live Monday evening to promote the paperback release of his latest book, Don’t Start the Revolution Without Me, and offered his trademark rapid-fire quips on a range of subjects, from Barack Obama’s first 100 days, to the drug war, to torture, to...

Pawlenty Delivers on Veto Pledge; Override Season Opens

Governor Tim Pawlenty's veto this weekend of a legislative bill (HF 885, SF 681) that would raise approximately $1 billion in revenue through income and alcohol taxes and a surtax on credit card companies, marked the official opening of Override Season this spring. The bill was actually the fourth veto...

Will Minnesotans Support the Firearms Freedom Act?

Minnesota Republican State Representative Tom Emmer (19B-Delano) introduced legislation in the House on Thursday that seeks to restrict the reach of federal firearms laws by exempting Minnesota-made firearms and ammunition that remain in the state from federal laws and regulations, including registration. In a statement released by the House GOP...

How Many Senators Will Vote for the Next Supreme Court Nominee?

With the recent announcement by Associate Justice David Souter that he intends to retire from the Supreme Court this year, all eyes are on President Barack Obama to see who he will send up to the U.S. Senate for confirmation hearings in the coming weeks or months. Obama, of course,...

Bachmann on the State of the GOP: "Republicans are for all practical purposes irrelevant"

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is seemingly a fixture in the state and national media these days, and in particular on WWTC 1280 AM's Northern Alliance Radio Network. The Minnesota U.S. Representative appeared once again on Brian Ward and John Hinderaker's "The Headliners" program last Saturday morning to discuss excessive government spending,...

The Secret to Klobuchar's Popularity: Enduring Republican Support

The latest round of SurveyUSA monthly polling data again shows Minnesota DFL U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar holding on to her statewide support more than any of the 25 Senators tracked by the polling organization. With a 62 percent approval rating, Klobuchar is the only Senator in the group with a...

Pawlenty Disapproval Rating Rises For 5th Straight Month in SurveyUSA Polling

A few days ago, Smart Politics went into great detail to explain why the latest Star Tribune poll results did not provide persuasive evidence that Governor Tim Pawlenty was flirting with danger in terms of his statewide approval rating. That poll found Pawlenty with a +12 net approval rating -...