Gov. Mark Dayton indicates his preferred podium size. (
by Tony Petrangelo
Nov 2, 2013, 10:00 AM

Mark Dayton’s standing improves

In the wake of their two recent polls of Minnesota’s second congressional district, both done on behalf of outside groups, Public Policy Polling‘s robots made a return engagement to our fair state to ask about Minnesota’s 2014 Gubernatorial and Senatorial elections. Thank you polling robots! Everyone, give the polling robots a round of applause, they deserve it.

With that out of the way, we’ll begin the festivities by looking at Governor Mark Dayton’s numbers:

PPP (10/27-29, 5/17-19 in parenthesis, 1/18-20 in brackets):

Do you approve or disapprove of Governor Mark Dayton’s job performance?
Approve 48 (49) [53]
Disapprove 42 (47) [39]
Not sure 10 (4) [8]
(MoE: ±3.3%)

The 47% disapproval number in the last PPP poll was the highest disapproval score that Mark Dayton has yet recorded and not really in line with any other polling seen so far. So it’s not surprising to see that number lower in this poll. Having said that, 42% is the second highest disapproval score Mark Dayton has yet recorded.

This is the second PPP poll in a row showing Mark Dayton’s disapproval numbers in the 40s, and yet these are the only two polls to show a disapproval number that high. SurveyUSA and Mason-Dixon haven’t found disapproval numbers higher then 39% and in their most recent polls had the numbers at 36% and 31% respectively. So there’s somewhat of a disconnect between the three pollsters.

On the approval side, other than a fluky Mason-Dixon poll that showed him at 57%, Mark Dayton’s approval scores have been hovering in the high 40s, which is the same place they find themselves this poll.

There isn’t much disagreement among PPP and SurveyUSA as to what Mark Dayton’s approval numbers are (again, Mason-Dixon is all over the board here), rather they are finding different levels of disapproval numbers. To answer to this disagreement more data (read: polls) will be needed.

Despite some uncertainty with the disapproval numbers, the approval numbers are still robust enough that Mark Dayton should be considered the favorite. If he can maintain these job approval numbers it will be very difficult to defeat him.

So let’s take a look at how the Republicans who will try and do that are doing.

PPP (10/27-29, 5/17-19 in parenthesis):

Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of…

Scott Honour?
Favorable 4 (3)
Unfavorable 16 (11)
Not sure 80 (86)

Jeff Johnson?
Favorable 5 (6)
Unfavorable 15 (13)
Not sure 80 (81)

Julie Rosen?
Favorable 6 (9)
Unfavorable 17 (13)
Not sure 78 (79)

Marty Seifert?
Favorable 8
Unfavorable 19
Not sure 73

Dave Thompson?
Favorable 7 (8)
Unfavorable 16 (13)
Not sure 77 (79)

Kurt Zellers?
Favorable 11 (10)
Unfavorable 23 (25)
Not sure 66 (65)
(MoE: ±3.3%)

Not surprisingly, no one knows who any of these people are. Even former Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives Kurt Zellers fails to garner an opinion from 66% of respondents. And compared to the others, he’s like a rock star.

Here’s what happens when you match up all of these relatively unknown Republicans with Mark Dayton:

PPP (10/27-29, 5/17-19 in parenthesis):

If the candidates for Governor next year were Democrat Mark Dayton and Republican [candidate name], who would you vote for?

Mark Dayton 48 (52)
Scott Honour 38 (34)
Not sure 15 (15)

Mark Dayton 48 (52)
Jeff Johnson 37 (34)
Not sure 15 (14)

Mark Dayton 48 (51)
Julie Rosen 36 (34)
Not sure 16 (15)

Mark Dayton 48
Marty Seifert 37
Not sure 16

Mark Dayton 48 (51)
Dave Thompson 37 (35)
Not sure 15 (13)

Mark Dayton 48 (53)
Kurt Zellers? 38 (35)
Not sure 14 (13)
(MoE: ±3.3%)

Given the overall lack of name recognition among the group of Republicans it’s not really surprising that they would all fare the same. And would all be losing by 10 points.

Also notice that in each of these match-ups Mark Dayton gets 48%, exactly what his job approval number is in this poll. Which further underlines my point that as long as Mark Dayton has job approval numbers in the the high 40s, he’s not going to be easy to beat.

But what happens when you pit all of those unknown Republicans against each other, is what like three people asked, probably because they’re masochists.

PPP (10/27-29, no trend lines):

Given the choices of Scott Honour, Jeff Johnson, Julie Rosen, Marty Seifert, Dave Thompson, and Kurt Zellers, who would you most like to see as the Republican candidate for Governor next year?

Scott Honour 6
Jeff Johnson 8
Julie Rosen 10
Marty Seifert 9
Dave Thompson 11
Kurt Zellers 12
Not sure 44
(MoE: ±5.7%)

Given the favorable numbers and horse-race numbers these results are about what you’d expect, “Not sure” as the decisive victor with everyone else in a big muddle at 10%.

The Republican field won’t really begin to take shape until after they hand out the party endorsement. At that point some candidates will drop out and we’ll have a much better idea of who will actually be running in the primary. Until, I expect things will remain a muddle.

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