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Obama Approval Rating Holds in Minnesota, Plummets in Iowa and Wisconsin

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Although Barack Obama's approval rating has taken an (expected) hit in Minnesota since the beginning of his term, a hit all presidents endure, a new SurveyUSA poll finds Gopher State residents much more patient with the new Democratic president than many states across the nation.

A poll of 600 adults, conducted August 26-27 by SurveyUSA, finds 53 percent of Minnesotans approve of the President's job performance, up a statistically insignificant 2 points from July. Forty-four percent disapproved of Obama's job performance.

What is particularly noteworthy is that Obama's approval rating dropped in August in 10 of the 13 states tracked each month by SurveyUSA, and by an average of 3.8 points.

In fact, Obama dipped to record lows in the neighboring states of Iowa and Wisconsin in the new round of surveys.

In Iowa, only 45 percent of adults give Obama positive marks this month, down a significant 11 points from July. Fifty-four percent disapprove. Likewise, in Wisconsin, just 45 percent approve of Obama's job performance, down from 50 percent in July. Fifty percent disapprove.

Obama's rating also dipped to record lows in the states of Alabama (40 percent), California (62 percent), Kentucky (36 percent), Missouri (48 percent), New Mexico (52 percent), New York (58 percent), Virginia (42 percent), and Washington (51 percent).

Perhaps it is due to Minnesota's culture of patience, with its ice fishing and slow-starting vehicles in the winter, but while the rest of the country has become increasingly impatient with Obama and the economic concerns facing the nation, more Minnesotans are, comparatively, giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Overall, Obama's approval rating has fallen at the slowest rate in Minnesota compared to the other 12 states tracked by SurveyUSA. The President's job performance rating has dropped only 17.2 percent since January in the Gopher State, compared to an average of 28.5 percent elsewhere.

In Wisconsin, Obama's approval rating has dropped a whopping 35.7 percent, from a lofty 70 percent in January to 45 percent in August. A similar story has unfolded in Iowa, where the President's approval rating has fallen 33.8 percent, from 68 percent in January to 45 percent in August.

One possible explanation for the more favorable view Minnesotans have of Barack Obama's job performance to date compared to its Upper Midwestern neighbors is that the Gopher State's job situation has somewhat stabilized. Minnesota's unemployment rate is up only 8 percent from January to July (7.5 to 8.1 percent), compared to 28.6 percent in Wisconsin (7.0 to 9.0 percent) and 35.4 percent in Iowa (4.8 to 6.5 percent).

Change in Barack Obama Approval Rating Since January 2009

State
January
August
Change
% Change
Minnesota
64
53
-11
-17.2
California
77
62
-15
-19.5
New Mexico
65
52
-13
-20.0
Oregon
68
54
-14
-20.6
New York
78
58
-20
-25.6
Washington
69
51
-18
-26.1
Missouri
65
48
-17
-26.2
Kansas
62
45
-17
-27.4
Virginia
62
42
-20
-32.3
Alabama
60
40
-20
-33.3
Iowa
68
45
-23
-33.8
Wisconsin
70
45
-25
-35.7
Kentucky
62
36
-26
-41.9
Average
66.9
48.5
-18.4
-27.7
Note: SurveyUSA data compiled by Smart Politics.

The most recent national tracking poll, released today by Rasmussen, finds Obama's approval rating at 45 percent, with 53 percent disapproving.

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Remains of the Data

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Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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