David Gerson and some dude at the Reagan dinner (mnpoliticalroundtable.com).
by Tony Petrangelo
Dec 8, 2013, 10:00 AM

The Weekly Wrap 12-8

♣ St Cloud State University, as they do in the fall, released a poll conducted of Minnesota to find out what we think of some of our elected officials. Below, the results:

SCSU (12/2, no trend lines):

How would you rate the overall performance of Mark Dayton as Governor? Would you rate his performance as excellent, pretty good, only fair or poor?
Excellent 7
Pretty good 39
Only fair 35
Poor 19

How would you rate the overall performance of Al Franken as U.S. Senator? Would you rate his performance as excellent, pretty good, only fair or poor?
Excellent 12
Pretty good 32
Only fair 34
Poor 22
(MoE: ±4.5%)

Most every other survey that has been done of Minnesotan’s attitudes towards Mark Dayton and Al Franken has used the approve/disapprove formulation of this question. That formulation of the question is not subject to much, if any, subjectivity on the part of the respondent. Either a respondent approves, disapproves or has no opinion either way.

By using the Excellent/Pretty good/Only fair/Poor question wording the subjectivity of the respondent’s understanding of those terms plays a much larger role in how they respond. Take the “Only fair” option for instance, what does “Only fair” really mean?

For some it may mean disapproval, for others it may be more of a “meh” feeling of indifference, not good or not bad, and for yet other people it may even mean approval.

If I were to say that a person was doing a “fair” job at a thing, this doesn’t conjurer up thoughts of them doing that thing poorly or bad or even in a way that I would find objectionable. It conjurers up thoughts of adequacy, and for many people adequacy likely means approval.

There is way too much room for respondents to interpret the question in their own way for this question wording to be at all effective or in anyway meaningful. There’s a reason that most pollsters don’t ask this question in this way, that’s because who knows what the results even mean without asking the respondents what they think the phrase “only fair” really means.

This is a great example of over-thinking a polling question to the point that the results are essentially meaningless. And I’m not going to try and find meaning in such results.

Also, if you want a masters class in how to not properly format a PDF document, this poll is for you!

♣ In a move that is unsurprising, but nonetheless much welcomed, David Gerson has officially announced that he is challenging Representative John Kline for the Republican nomination in the second congressional district.

This will not be the first time that Gerson has challenged John Kline, he did so just last election cycle, and it didn’t go so well for him as he ended up losing 85-15.

About that failed attempt, Gerson had this to say:

Last year, we really were just trying to send a message to John Kline. We didn’t run a serious campaign last time.

And if that doesn’t make you want to take him seriously, this certainly will:

This year Gerson is starting earlier and has already spoken at local Republican groups, made thousands of calls to activists and primary voters, he said. He also has Marianne Stebbins, who coordinated presidential candidate Ron Paul’s well organized Minnesota campaign last year, as his campaign co-chair.

Because it worked for Kurt Bills!

Gerson seems confident that he will win the GOP endorsement. If that does happen, he may actually present a credible threat to John Kline. And regardless of Gerson’s qualities as a candidate, or lack thereof, he will be a much less formidable opponent for Mike Obermueller in a general election. It’s now on the Minnesota Republican party to come to it’s senses and throw John Kline out of office for his ideological heresy.

♣ In more Minnesota Congresspeople getting challengers news, seventh district Representative Collin Peterson has received what may be his first credible challenger in a while.

State Sen. Torrey Westrom is stepping up to vie against Democratic U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson.

The Republican will hold campaign appearances to announce his bid on Thursday in Elbow Lake, his hometown, and Moorhead, according to a release.

Westrom is attorney who joined the Minnesota House in 1997 and was elected to the Senate last year. According to the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library, he is the first known blind member of the Legislature.

For his part, Peterson has still not said whether he’s even running for re-election, and if he decides to retire, Westrom will be in the cat bird seat, so to speak. But if Peterson runs, this will be a very difficult race for Westrom, regardless of his profile.

♣ This is a thing that needs to happen:

Just a month after Minneapolis’ crowded 35-candidate mayoral election, there’s a move to boost dramatically the city’s $20 filing fee for the office to $500.

A proposed amendment to the City Charter also would raise the $20 fee for City Council candidates to $250 and for those running for the Park Board or the Board of Estimate and Taxation to $100.

State law provides the option of gathering signatures on a petition to bypass the filing fee.

I’ve been talking about this same thing on The Daily Report for months now, there is just no justification for not raising the filing fee.

Point the first: The size of the field in the Minneapolis Mayor’s race was absurd. It’s not reasonable to expect voters to sift through a field of 35 candidates when deciding who to vote for in a general election.

Point the second: Many of the candidates, a majority, had no intention of actually running for Mayor, but instead took advantage of a filing fee so low as to be virtually non-existent in order to try and get some fleeting notoriety. This is not what elections are for and is a debasement of the whole enterprise.

Point the third: Any person who is running a serious campaign for Mayor will need money. Even the father of the modern grass-roots movement in Minnesota, Paul Wellstone, needed a not insignificant amount of money to run. Elections cost money, even grass-roots campaigns. A campaign that is serious about actually winning will have no problem whatsoever raising $500 for the filing fee. In the overall scope of campaign expenses, $500 is nothing. If you can’t raise $500 for a filing fee, you don’t have a chance to win anyway.

♣ And speaking of The Daily Report, artfully embedded below is my weekly Friday appearance from this weeks show.

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