Tuesday, January 31, 2012

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:

PPP (1/27, no trend lines):
"Do you think public money should cover part of the cost for a new stadium for the Vikings, or not?"

Public money should cover part of the cost 33
It should not 59
Not sure 8
(MoE: ±2.8%)

That's not much of a surprise really, the public is overwhelmingly against paying for a Vikings stadium. Well, they are when you ask the question that way. If instead, you ask the question the following way you get a much different result:

PPP (1/27, no trend lines):
"If the choice was between the Vikings moving out of Minnesota and public money covering part of the cost for a new stadium, which would you prefer?"

Would prefer the Vikings moving out of Minnesota 39
Would prefer having the public pay for part of the cost of a new stadium 46
Not sure 15
(MoE: ±2.8%)

If the question is put this way, as a choice between keeping the Vikings and building a stadium with public money or simply letting them move out of the state, then a plurality is actually in favor of building the Vikings their stadium.

The public's willingness to spend money on a stadium seems to be directly tied to the possibility of the team leaving. Therefore the amount of public money, if any, that will be spent on a stadium will in some ways be determined by the amount of leverage that the Vikings actually have.

All of which seems obvious, but it's nice to have confirmation via polling.

Also confirmed via polling, the Republican majorities in the legislature are becoming increasingly unpopular:

PPP (1/27, 6/1 in parenthesis):
"Do you approve or disapprove of the job the DFL members of the legislature are doing?"

Approve 31 (39)
Disapprove 49 (45)
Not sure 20 (16)

"Do you approve or disapprove of the job the Republican members of the legislature are doing?"

Approve 23 (29)
Disapprove 62 (58)
Not sure 16 (13)

"If there was an election for the legislature today do you think you would vote for the DFL or Republican candidate from your district?"

DFL candidate 48 (49)
Republican candidate 39 (40)
Not sure 14 (11)
(MoE: ±2.8%)

The DFLers in the legislature aren't fairing a whole lot better, but they are maintaining their nine point generic ballot lead, which if that holds, will almost certainly result in the DFL retaking both chambers.

Lastly we get to the anti-family amendment:

PPP (1/27, 6/1 in parenthesis):
"Should the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?"

Yes 48 (46)
No 44 (47)
Not sure 8 (7)
(MoE: ±2.8%)

You can look at the cross tabs of this poll and try and parse out some problems (%15 of the "very liberal" are going to vote yes?), but the reality is that this is going to be a close one right down to the end. I've added this poll to the poll tracker I've set up for this issue which appears at the bottom of this post.

PPP, like they did last time as well, tries some different approaches to the question:

PPP (1/27, 6/1 in parenthesis):
"Which of the following best describes your opinion on gay marriage: gay couples should be allowed to legally marry, or gay couples should be allowed to form civil unions but not legally marry, or there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple's relationship?"

Gay couples should be allowed to legally marry 37 (38)
Gay couples should be allowed to form civil unions but not marry 34 (34)
There should be no legal recognition of a gay couple's relationship 27 (26)
Not sure 2 (2)

"Do you think same-sex marriage should be legal or illegal?"

Legal 43 (46)
Illegal 47 (45)
Not sure 10 (9)
(MoE: ±2.9%)

There hasn't been that much movement in these numbers, in fact the numbers of the first question above have been remarkably stable. That's partly due to the fact that there is almost no one who hasn't formed a view on the question of whether gay couples should receive some form of recognition.

The disagreements of course come when you call that recognition marriage. Due to the lack of movement and small number of undecideds, I think it's fairly safe to say that the numbers in that question aren't going to change much.

So the challenge will be to convince the 35% of Minnesotan's who are in favor of civil unions but not marriage to vote no or simply not vote.


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