Monday, May 21, 2012


While I haven't really been writing here much lately, I'm going to make it official. The site will stay alive as an archive, but no more new material will be posted here. I am now blogging at, check it out!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Enthusiasm Gap is back

It's back! The dreaded juggernaut that toppled Democratic legislative majorities all over the country in 2010, the Enthusiasm Gap, has again reared it's head, huffing and snorting for more politicians blood.

Only this time, the Enthusiasm Gap appears to have switched sides and will now be trampling over GOPers.

PPP (3/26):
"Are you very excited, somewhat excited, or not at all excited about voting in the 2012 elections?"

Very excited 57
Somewhat excited 28
Not at all excited 15

Very excited 46
Somewhat excited 30
Not at all excited 24
(MoE: ±3.1%)

57% very excited Democrats and 46% very excited Republicans is a gap of 11 points. On March 28th 2011, almost exactly one year before this poll was taken, the Democrats numbers were about the same, 55% very excited. The big difference is that last year 56% of Republicans were very excited as well.

This graph helps to illustrate my point:

Monday, February 27, 2012

Not Almanac Episode 6: Redistricting!

Not Almanac logoIn this weeks episode we talk about redistricting... for the whole show.

Download here

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Maps Have Landed

Obama/McCain %:

Image Hosted by

Population distribution:

Image Hosted by

Pretty much a text book example of "least change," which the some in the GOP were trying to say was just not possible.

Only Betty McCollum and John Kline retained less then 90% of their constituents, and both of their districts went in the other direction from a partisan perspective, although in Betty's case, it's hardly anything to worry about as she's still in a deeply Democratic district.

John Kline is a different story though. His district is now an Obama majority district, having cast 50.5% of their vote for the President. This doesn't mean that Kline is suddenly on the watch list, but if the GOP congress continues to be as unpopular as it is and quality candidate emerges, he could be in for a real fight.

While this isn't as good as the map the DFL submitted, it is probably the best we could have expected in a court map. This is a scenario that many saw as possible based on the redistricting principal of not splitting counties, and by keeping Dakota county whole, the court added a bunch of DFLers to Kline's district.

Here's the map, more info when I get it.

Image Hosted by

And the cities close up.

Image Hosted by

Quick thoughts, 2 got a lot bluer!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Not Almanac Episode 5: More GOP BS

Not Almanac logoThis week we talk about: more Republican bullshit, a legislative skills test, and we get into the weeds on some of the bills floating around the capitol.

Download here

Monday, February 13, 2012

Not Almanac Episode 4: That ALEC guy

Not Almanac logoThis week we talk about: bullshit, Mark Dayton’s sharp elbows and of course that one guy, ALEC. Also in this edition we have an actual guest, Jesse Ross will talk with us about design in politics.

Download here

Friday, February 10, 2012

A-Klo, Dayton and the terrible, rotten, no-good Legislature

Amy KlobucharThis is me, two weeks ago:

Posts about Amy Klobuchar polls are not really that fun to write. Every one is exactly the same, Amy is at around 55% and when you're at 55% it doesn't really matter what your challengers are doing.

And hey, look at that, this poll shows her at 55%. Against everyone. Again. For the third time. Call me shocked.

And ten weeks before that:

I might as well just write up a template for all these A-Klo poll posts, because they've all been the same so far. Amy Klobuchar is polling well over 50% against her announced opponents and is polling at 50% against the MN GOP's A-team, who can't even crack 40% against her.

And today:

SurveyUSA (2/3, 11/8 in parenthesis):
Amy Klobuchar (D-inc) 56 (55)
Dan Severson (R) 29 (23)
Undecided 15 (22)

Amy Klobuchar (D-inc) 59 (56)
Joe Arwood (R) 28 (22)
Undecided 14 (22)
(MoE: ±4.3%)

The real notable thing about this poll is that some of the undecideds have come off the fence and almost all of them went into the Republican candidates column, both Severson and Arwood are up 6 points since the last SUSA poll.

While that may seem like a bit of a worrying trend, it's not. It's was simply undecided Republicans, deciding to go with the Republican, which was going to happen anyway.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Not Almanac, Episode 3: Photo ID for thee, but not me

Not Almanac logoIn this post-precinct-caucus edition we discuss such things as: Photo ID, the before mentioned and just concluded Minnesota precinct caucus and some intra party DFL nomination battles.

Download here

Three Minnesota Constitutional Amendment Polls

Gay MarriageBack on February 3rd SurveyUSA, polling for KSTP, released a poll and I completely missed it for six days. So now, like a magazine that's been in the bathroom for a week, the corners bent and it's content exhausted, I'll finally bring it out for inspection.

The folks at SUSA asked about one constitutional amendment that's already on the ballot and two that seem like they're destined for that same fate.

SurveyUSA (2/3, 11/8 in parenthesis, 5/25 in brackets):
"An amendment to the Minnesota Constitution on the ballot defines marriage as between one man and one woman, will you vote..."

For 47 (46) [51]
Against 39 (40) [40]
Not vote 10 (10) [8]
Not sure 4 (4) [2]
(MoE: ±4.3%)

This issue has essentially stabilized over the last six months, with amendment supporters holding a small but consistent ~4 point advantage in the average of polls. SurveyUSA though is the only pollster who has given respondants the option of not voting for the amendment and they find 10% who utilize this option.

Those not votes, by people who cast a ballot, will count the same as no votes so it's tempting to simply lump them together and say that the amendment is actually losing slightly 49-47.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Not Almanac, Episode 2: Controversial controversy

Not Almanac logoIn this, the second episode, we (Aaron Klemz, Steve Timmer and myself) discuss the start to the legislative session, including the disappearing DFL senate staff, the Voter ID Amendment in search of substance, and the ongoing saga of the Minnesota GOP’s money problems.

Unpacking the Odds and Ends

Governor Mark DaytonLast week PPP released the last set of data from their recent foray into Minnesota. The "Odds and Ends" release, as PPP refers to it, contains a lot of interesting data that is worth unpacking. So that's what I'm going to do. Right now in fact.

PPP (1/27, 6/1 in parenthesis):
"Do you approve or disapprove of Governor Mark Dayton’s job performance?"

Approve 53 (51)
Disapprove 34 (38)
Not sure 13 (10)
(MoE: ±2.8%)

Mark Dayton is proving himself to be a capable and likable Governor and these numbers reflect that. PPP's write up of the poll sums it up nicely:

Mark Dayton's numbers have improved since PPP last polled Minnesota in May and he's one of the most popular Governors in the country. 53% of voters approve of the job he's doing to 34% who disapprove. That +19 spread is up 6 points from May when he was at +13 (51/38). Dayton has near unanimous approval from Democrats (85/5), is very strong with independents (51/33), and even has a decent amount of support from Republicans (19%). Dayton's 53% approval ties him for the 8th highest out of more than 40 sitting Governors PPP has polled on.

It's been since Arne Carlson that a candidate for Governor in Minnesota received more than 50% of the vote in an election. Of course we'll have to see what happens with the stadium and how that moves the needle.

Speaking of the stadium, PPP asked about that as well:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Not Almanac, Episode 1: The Session Cometh

Not Almanac logoNot Almanac is a new, weekly (for now) podcast on Minnesota politics, featuring Aaron Klemz and Steve Timmer from The Cucking Stool along with yours truly.

This is the first episode, in which we discuss; the beginning of the Minnesota legislative session and the 800lb Gorilla named ALEC that will be stalking it. Also discussed, important dates coming up on the political calender.

A-Klo still crushing

Amy KlobucharPosts about Amy Klobuchar polls are not really that fun to write. Every one is exactly the same, Amy is at around 55% and when you're at 55% it doesn't really matter what your challengers are doing.

And hey, look at that, this poll shows her at 55%. Against everyone. Again. For the third time. Call me shocked.

For the sake of completeness though, here it is:

PPP (1/23, 6/2 in parenthesis, 12/7 in brackets):
Amy Klobuchar (D-inc) 54 (54) [53]
Tim Pawlenty (R) 39 (41) [43]
Undecided 7 (5) [4]

Amy Klobuchar (D-inc) 58 (57) [56]
Michele Bachmann (R) 35 (37) [39]
Undecided 7 (5) [4]

Amy Klobuchar (D-inc) 55 (56)
Dan Severson (R) 32 (28)
Undecided 13 (16)

Amy Klobuchar (D-inc) 55
Joe Arwood (R) 30
Undecided 15

Amy Klobuchar (D-inc) 55
Anthony Hernandez (R) 29
Undecided 16
(MoE: ±2.9%)

You can see that their respective presidential runs haven't really helped the two Minnesota Republican heavyweights, Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann. The trend lines only show incremental change though, not significant erosion. That's due to both of them already being at or close to the "Kennedy line."

(Ed: The term "Kennedy Line" refers to the share of the vote that Mark Kennedy got in the 2006 Senate race, the Kennedy line is essentially the GOP's floor)

There's nothing about any poll of this race that's been done over that last year plus that has shown any real deviation from these numbers. And there's no silver lining for any of the GOP candidates when you delve into the crosstabs, 59% of Independents approve of Amy Klobuchar and even 32% of Republicans do.

She has what you call "Cross-over appeal," and she's worked very hard to cultivate that appeal. And these are the dividends that pays.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Redistricting: That ain't no least change

Redistricting MinnesotaIn response to my post last Thursday on the GOP's Redistricting Power Point Tom Freeman had this to say via the Twitter:

you failed redistricting 101

Which perplexed me a bit at first, because I didn't really know what he was talking about. I went back and reread my post and realized he must be referring to my use of the term "least change," which Tom confirmed in his next tweet.

least change is comical

So his point is that since congressional district six needs to lose around 96,000 people to achieve population equity there is no way to draw a least change map. That's too many people to move for the map to be least change.

Which completely misunderstands the meaning of the phrase, least change.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Redistricting: Oral arguments = Power Points!

Redistricting MinnesotaThe parties involved with redistricting made oral arguments before the court on Wednesday January 4th. If you haven't seen the action (The Uptake has the videos) you're not missing much, unless of course you're a Power Point presentation aficionado, but odds are you aren't.

In this post I'm going to take a look at the presentation given by the Hippert (GOP) intervenors. The other two parties presented Power Points as well, but I'm more interested in the case made by the GOP in support of their rural Minnesota gerrymander.

Here are the two Power Points submitted by the Hippert (GOP) group.
- Power Point in Support of Plaintiffs Redistricting Plans
- Power Point Opposing Intervenors Redistricting Plans

The Hippert power point presentation in support of their plan is 64 pages long. 35 of those pages deal with the congressional plan and 25 of those 35 pages are spent trying to sell their radical reworking of the three rural districts. They spend, literally, one page discussing districts 2 through 6. Not one page each, but one page.

It's as if the drawing of those five districts is but an afterthought to the much more serious business of gerrymandering northern Minnesota to the sole benefit of the Republican party, all other considerations be damned.

They assert, laughably, that a "least changes" map is not workable, which is simply nonsense. Why is it not workable? According to the Power Point it's because population changes in the last decade require significant changes and making those changes will cause a domino effect. Additionally, redistricting requires a broader view and none of the parties submitted a least changes map.

And while the last point is indeed true, the others don't stand up to scrutiny.