Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


That Was Then, This Is Now: What (Political) Life Looked Like the Last Time Minnesota Elected a DFLer Governor

Bookmark and Share

Do you remember when the cost of a postage stamp was 22 cents?

Or when Minnesota's population was a shade over four million - a million less than live here today?

Or when the state had no professional basketball team, but did have a hockey team named the Minnesota North Stars?

And do you remember seeing Top Gun - the #1 movie at the box office?

If you do, then you may also remember the year in which Minnesota voters last elected a DFLer governor of the Gopher State - 1986.

Much has changed over the past quarter century, including the political climate and balance of power in Minnesota and the rest of the country, though the drought has continued for Democrats in gubernatorial contests ever since.

On the economic front, back in 1986, unemployment averaged 5.6 percent in Minnesota for the year, compared to 7.3 percent thus far in 2010, or a 30 percent higher rate today.

The price of gas has increased 178 percent since 1986, from $0.93 per gallon to $2.59 in Minnesota today.

And, yes, the cost of a 1st Class postage stamp has risen 100 percent, from 22 cents to 44 cents.

But the political landscape of 1986 also looked a lot different in the Gopher State, as well as nationally.

· In 1986, Minnesota had an incumbent Democratic governor running for a second term (Rudy Perpich, pictured above). In 2010, the state's two-term Republican governor, Tim Pawlenty, is not running for reelection.

· In 1986, Minnesota was also flanked by Republican governors in Iowa (Terry Branstad) and Wisconsin (Tommy Thompson). In 2010, those states are now governed by Democrats (Chet Culver and Jim Doyle respectively).

· Republicans, however, had control of the Minnesota House 24 years ago - by a narrow 67-65 margin just before election day. Today, the DFL has a 40-seat advantage over the GOP, 87-47.

· Minnesota's U.S. Senate delegation in 1986 was comprised of two Republicans - Dave Durenberger and Rudy Boschwitz. Today, two DFLers represent the Gopher State in the nation's upper legislative chamber - Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken.

· The U.S. Senate itself was under Republican control in 1986, by a 53-47 margin, whereas in 2010 Democrats have a 57-41 advantage (plus two independents who caucus with the Democrats).

· And, of course, as Minnesota headed into the mid-term election in 1986, Republican Ronald Reagan was in the middle of his second term in the White House. As the DFL tries to take back the governor's office in Minnesota in 2010, they must do so with a Democratic president in office - a feat they have achieved in just 3 of 25 instances since statehood.

But this is not to say the political compass is pointing in a completely different direction in 2010 as it was in 1986 when Governor Perpich won reelection - there are a few similarities:

· In 1986, the DFL had a pre-election advantage of 43-24 in the Minnesota Senate. Today the advantage stands at a similar 46-21 margin.

· In both 1986 and 2010, the Minnesota U.S. House delegation was comprised of five DFLers and three Republicans.

· And Democrats held virtually the same advantage over the GOP in the U.S. House - a 253-182 margin in 1986, and a 255-177 margin today (with three vacancies).

However, it is only the wise or the very, very bold who will speculate as to which, if any, of these similarities or dissimilarities are tells for determining the outcome in the 2010 gubernatorial race at this point in the early days of June.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Do Higher Minimum Wage Laws Contribute to Increased Unemployment?
Next post: Will Minnesotans Elect a Plurality-Winning Governor for a 4th Straight Cycle?

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting