State of the State (
by Tony Petrangelo
Feb 8, 2013, 11:00 PM

The Weekly Wrap 2-8

♣ There are elections on Tuesday! Bonus Elections!

One is in House district 14A and features DFLer Joanne Dorsher, GOPer Tama Theis and IPer Todd McKee.

The other is in House district 19A and features DFLer Clark Johnson, GOPer Allen Quist and IPer Tim Gieseke.

I’ll be live blogging as the results come in on Tuesday night as well.

♣ A poll came out this week and I didn’t even write a post about it. It’s in situations like this that it’s a good thing The Weekly Wrap™ exists.

First we’ll look at the job approval numbers.

SurveyUSA (2/5, no trend lines):

Do you approve or disapprove of the job Mark Dayton is doing as Governor?
Approve 50
Disapprove 35
Not Sure 15

Do you approve? Or disapprove? Of the job the state legislature is doing?
Approve 25
Disapprove 60
Not Sure 15

Do you approve or disapprove of the job Amy Klobuchar is doing as United States Senator?
Approve 60
Disapprove 31
Not Sure 9

Do you approve or disapprove of the job Al Franken is doing as United States Senator?
Approve 47
Disapprove 40
Not Sure 13
(MoE: ±4.5%)

The numbers PPP released a few weeks ago gave Mark Dayton and Al Franken simliar job approval spreads, with Dayton at 53-39 and Franken at 52-41. This SurveyUSA poll shows a divergence in job approvals, with Dayton’s being better than PPP had him and Franken’s worse.

In table form:

Poll Dayton Franken
PPP +14 +11
SUSA +15 +7

This helps explain a bit of weirdness from the PPP poll, namely the fact that while Mark Dayton and Al Franken’s approval numbers were separated by only 3 points, when they were matched up against Norm Coleman (the only similar opponent they were matched-up with) Dayton fared better seven points better then Franken did.

The spread in the Dayton-Coleman match-up mirrored Dayton’s favorable numbers exactly, 52-39, but in the Franken Coleman match-up, Franken did worse than his approvals by five points.

Initially I thought this had more the do with Norm Coleman, but now I’m not so sure. It may just be that Franken’s support is softer than his approvals.

SUSA also asked some questions about the tax portions of Mark Dayton’s budget.

SurveyUSA (2/5, no trend lines):

There is a proposal to lower the state sales tax rate, but expand the tax to include many consumer services, like haircuts, golf lessons, and auto repairs. Do you support? Or do you oppose? This proposal?
Support 35
Oppose 55
Not Sure 10

There is also a proposal to require businesses to pay sales tax on many business services, like legal, accounting, and consulting services. Do you support? Or do you oppose? This proposal?
Support 34
Oppose 59
Not Sure 8

Minnesota currently has no sales tax on clothing. Another proposal would extend the sales tax to articles of clothing that cost more than $100. Do you support? Or do you oppose? This proposal?
Support 49
Oppose 46
Not Sure 5

Should online retailers who have no stores in Minnesota be required to collect sales tax on internet purchases made by Minnesota residents? Or not?
Support 32
Oppose 61
Not Sure 7

On income taxes, a proposal would increase the income tax rate on single taxpayers earning more than $150,000 in taxable income and on couples earning more than $250,000. Do you support? Or do you oppose? This proposal?
Support 65
Oppose 30
Not Sure 5

What do you think is the best way to balance the state’s $1.1 billion budget deficit? Mostly through spending cuts? Mostly through tax increases? Or through an even split of spending cuts and tax increases?
Spending cuts 45
Tax increases 9
Even split 45
Not Sure 2
(MoE: ±4.5%)

What you can clearly see in these numbers is about what you would expect, no one wants taxes to go up on themselves, but don’t mind raising them on the well off.

The only tax proposal that gets majority support, and it’s substantial support, is raising income taxes on the wealthy. Getting a plurality is the idea of a clothing tax on items costing more then $100. Again, likely supported by people who don’t buy many articles of clothing over $100.

Now for some gun stuff!

SurveyUSA (2/5, no trend lines):

Do you support? … or oppose? … a law requiring a ban on military-style semi-automatic weapons?
Support 60
Oppose 35
Not Sure 6

Do you support? … or oppose? … a law that limits how much ammunition a gun or gun magazine can hold at once?
Support 59
Oppose 35
Not Sure 6

Do you support? … or oppose? … a law that requires that anyone who sells a gun do a background check on the buyer, including gun sales between private individuals?
Support 75
Oppose 21
Not Sure 4

Do you think teachers who are licensed to carry a handgun should? or should not? be allowed to carry their gun while in school?
Should 39
Should not 54
Not Sure 6

Should a police officer be assigned to every Minnesota school?
Yes 37
No 51
Not Sure 12
(MoE: ±4.5%)

By an overwhelming majority, Minnesotan’s want to see expanded background checks for gun purchases. By strong majorities Minnesotan’s want bans on assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

Also by strong majorities Minnesotan’s don’t want their schools to become the wild west.

David Dill claims that there are at least seven DFLers in the house who will oppose any new gun legislation. It’s also likely that zero Republicans will support any such measures.

It will be up to the rational gun owners of Minnesota to convince their legislator’s to do something about this issue. But given the fact that Tom “I refer to the NRA as Fairfax” Bakk is the Senate Majority leader, it’s likely that any such efforts are DOA.

And one final quesiton that SUSA asked, and see if you can spot the problem.

SurveyUSA (2/5, no trend lines):

Should the Minnesota state law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry? Or should it be left as it is?
Should be changed 42
Should be left as it is 54
Not Sure 4
(MoE: ±4.5%)

This question is not like the others. While all the other issue questions that SurveyUSA asks don’t mention that fact that existing law would need to change, this one does.

The other questions simply ask for a persons opinion on a policy proposal. This question though, goes in an entirely different direction, asking weather the person supports changing the existing law to make room for the policy proposal.

Why not ask, as with all the other questions, weather a person supports same sex marriage or not? Why go through the whole rigmarole about changing the existing law?

This is not an idle question. Question wording goes to the very heart of survey design and can influence a response more so than demographic or partisan characteristics of a sample. As much as possible you want to have consistent question structure so as not to confuse the respondents.

This question is deliberately constructed in a way that is different from all the other issue questions in the survey. I can’t imagine what the reason is for this, but there is no good one that I can think of.

♣ Back to Al Franken, the guy who is supposedly the GOP’s top choice to challenge him for the Senate in 2014 doesn’t really seem like he’s ready for the big leagues, despite already having been in congress for a couple of terms.

I’m talking about Erik “Emo” Paulsen, who, from one day to the next (or in this case, one hour to the next) doesn’t know what he wants to do and isn’t shy about announcing it to the whole world.

Twice now he’s said the he isn’t running for the Senate. And twice now he’s sort of retracted that, not saying that he is running mind you, just saying that he isn’t not running.

Until he says he is running, I’m going to assume that Erik Paulsen is in fact not running, because that’s what he’s said twice now. And I am going to ignore all talk of a Paulsen candidacy, one way or the other, until dude makes up his mind for reals. This thing will only get more stupid until it’s over.

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