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Smart Politics
 


August 2009


What Are the Odds of a GOP Takeover of the Minnesota House in 2010?

While few Minnesota political pundits - or officeholders - are projecting a GOP takeover of the House of Representatives in November 2010, the Republican party leadership is very optimistic they are going to make gains into the DFL's current 40-seat advantage in the lower chamber. The DFL, meanwhile, is hoping...

Which Lawmaker (and Political Party) Leaves the Biggest Twitter Footprint in Minnesota Politics?

Last month Smart Politics conducted a case study as to how one Minnesota lawmaker, Republican Representative Laura Brod, utilized the social networking site Twitter during the last legislative session. That study found the plurality of Rep. Brod's tweets were about substantive policy issues, with approximately one-sixth about her own personal...

Minnesota Has 3rd Lowest Increase in Unemployment Nationwide Since Enactment of Federal Stimulus Bill

As it turns out, the three-tenths of a percent decrease in jobless claims announced last week by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is the backdrop to an even larger story of (relatively) good economic news for Minnesotans. While Minnesota has endured record setting increases in unemployment over...

Can the DFL Win a 6th U.S. House Seat in 2010?

As Minnesota faces the real prospect of losing its 8th U.S. House seat in the 2012 reapportionment, the DFL looks to close the current census period with a bang, by returning to its glory days of the 1990s when it controlled 6 of the Gopher State's Congressional districts. One hurdle...

Unemployment Down in Minnesota and South Dakota, Flat in Wisconsin

New unemployment data released this week for the month of July in Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin provides largely good news on the labor force front in the Upper Midwest. In Minnesota, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 8.4 percent in June to 8.1 percent in July. Minnesota's jobless...

Michele Bachmann Appears on National Cable TV Every 9 Days

With her A-block interview on health care reform on Fox News' Hannity program Tuesday evening, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has now equaled in 7+ months in 2009 the number of national cable television news appearances she made in all of 2008. A Smart Politics analysis of media transcripts dating back...

How Long Before Brett Favre Gets a Job Approval Rating?

With future Hall of Famer Brett Favre signing a two-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings this week, the Gopher State's most popular sports franchise is now officially led by the former face of its most hated rival, the Green Bay Packers. Because of the animosity (although, at times, perhaps begrudging...

Will Minnesota and Wisconsin Elect Governors from the Same Political Party in 2010?

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle's official announcement on Monday that he would not be seeking a third term created not only a newfound battle for the Democratic nomination, but also a scenario whereby the Badger and Gopher States will both have open gubernatorial races on the Election Day ballot for...

Al Franken Receives First Grade As U.S. Senator: Minnesotans Split Down the Middle

As DFL Senator Al Franken inched into office by the narrowest of margins, both he and 2008 Republican opponent Norm Coleman endured negative net favorability ratings as their expensive, and frequently brutal campaigns gained neither candidate favor with a majority of Minnesotans. A few weeks out from Election Day saw...

Can the DFL End Its Gubernatorial Drought?

With House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher's announcement that she is now officially in the 2010 gubernatorial race, the DFL adds yet another hopeful face to end a near quarter-century drought since the party last won the prized statewide office in 1986. However, as elusive as the governor's mansion has been...

Minnesota Leads Midwest in Birth-to-Death Ratio; Will Its 8th U.S. House Seat Be Saved?

With the U.S. Census and reapportionment just around the corner, reports have come out during the past year, including data from Minnesota's own state demographer, that indicate the Gopher State is in real danger of losing a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012. While that may still...

Is Barack Obama the World's President?

With Monday's news conference in Guadalajara, Mexico with Mexican President Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, President Barack Obama continues to build on his record number of press conferences held outside of the United States. Through his first 6 months and 20 days in office,...

Republican Opposition to Sotomayor Marks Largest Supreme Court Confirmation Vote Dissent in GOP History

Last week's vote in the U.S. Senate confirming Sonia Sotomayor as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court was noteworthy foremost, of course, for Sotomayor being the first Hispanic and third woman to serve on the Court. But the Senate vote was also significant for the Republicans and what emerged...

Et Tu Minnesota? Klobuchar Disapproval Rating Soars to Record High After Franken Is Seated

As unemployment continued to rise and economic and budget concerns reached near crisis levels across most states, several U.S. Senators, both Democrats and Republicans, saw their approval ratings slip noticeably during the first several months of 2009. One of the few Senators left seemingly unscathed by this backlash of public...

Republican Senators Ignore 'Hispanic Effect' in Sotomayor Confirmation Vote

In the months after President Barack Obama's selection of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, political analysts and even a few Republicans (e.g. Joe Scarborough) have characterized GOP opposition to and harsh questioning of the new Associate Justice as politically unwise. Such Republican Senators were cautioned and urged to...

Oberstar Rails Against Obama on Transportation Policy

Interspersed between his erudite historical recounting of transportation policy over the last 50 years, colorful inside-the-beltway jokes and jabs, and a vision for transportation policy for the next generation, Minnesota DFL Congressman Jim Oberstar offered some particularly harsh language for his party's leader, President Barack Obama, Wednesday afternoon at the...

Minnesota GOP U.S. House Members Notch $800,000 Fundraising Swing Against DFL Colleagues from 2007 to 2009

Riding the momentum of a Democratic tsunami in 2006, Minnesota's crop of five DFL U.S. Representatives posted a monumental fundaising effort through the first two quarters of 2007 - outraising the state's three GOP Representatives by over $750,000. Now, two full quarters after the Democratic tsunami in 2008, the Republicans...

Congressman Oberstar to Speak at Humphrey Institute Wednesday

Minnesota's senior member of its U.S. House delegation, 18-term Representative Jim Oberstar will speak on transportation policy at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs on Wednesday morning. The event is cosponsored by Institute's Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, the State and Local Policy...

Economic Downturn Scarcely Slowing Political Contributions to Minnesota's U.S. House Delegation

The economic recession of the past year, and its accompanying significant rise in unemployment, rise in home foreclosures and delinquency rates, and drop in the stock market, has not derailed Minnesota's U.S. House delegation from raising money like the recession never happened. A Smart Politics analysis finds there was a...

Pawlenty on the Rebound? Governor's Approval Rating Reaches Highest Mark in 2009

Now more than two months removed from a brutal budget battle with the DFL, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has seen his approval numbers rise to its highest level this year, according to SurveyUSA's latest 'snapshot in time.' Pawlenty's approval rating for the month of July increased six points from June...