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.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Iowa's about to get frothy!

Rick Santorum, frothy presidential candidateRick Santorum will win the Iowa Caucuses on Tuesday.

But Tony, no poll has yet shown Santorum in the lead in Iowa and guru of election predictions Nate Silver, currently has him pegged at just a 21% chance to win, behind both Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, why would you be predicting a Santorum win?


Momentum: Rick Santorum is the only candidate with any right now. The table below is the difference in support between the two most recent PPP polls of Iowa; the most recent being released yesterday and the previous one being released on the 27th of December, only five days earlier.

Santorum 8
Gingrich 1
Perry 0
Romney -1
Bachmann -3
Paul -4
It's usually a mistake to read too much into momentum. Because Santorum is surging now, doesn't mean he will be surging on Tuesday. But there are solid fundamentals on which to rest this particular surge theory, the next bolded word for instance.