Gov. Mark Dayton indicates his preferred podium size. (
by Tony Petrangelo
Feb 17, 2014, 8:00 AM

Mark Dayton keeps on keeping on

Despite what seemed like a three month or so period of non-stop bad news for Mark Dayton’s administration; from the sorry state of affairs at MNSure, to campaign finance violations, to issues involving the criminality of the Wilfs, voters approval of his job in office have not changed. In fact, they’ve ticked up slightly.

Mason-Dixon (2/16, 6/15 in parenthesis):

Do you approve or disapprove of Mark Dayton’s job performance as governor?

Approve 58 (57)
Disapprove 29 (31)
Undecided 13 (12)
(MoE: ±3.5%)

Governor Mark Dayton went from a +26 spread back in June 2013 to a +29 spread now.

This is not at all what I expected, I figured that his approvals would surely suffer some due to the seemingly bottomless series of negative stories. But in fact Mark Dayton’s approvals haven’t suffered at all. These results underline his durability as a politician. And not just underline, but also add an exclamation point.

As with the previous poll, Mark Dayton has universal job approval among Democrats, but also doesn’t fair to terribly among Republicans with 23% of them approving of his administration, with 59% disapproving. Independents, perhaps the most important group to a Dayton re-election, approve of his job performance 51%-35%, a 16 point spread.

All of this is good news for Mark Dayton. But there is another part of this poll, and that part is where things aren’t quite as rosey. Mason-Dixon asked another question:

Mason-Dixon (2/16, 6/15 in parenthesis):

Do you have a favorable, unfavorable or neutral opinion of Mark Dayton?

Favorable 36 (44)
Unfavorable 24 (29)
Neutral 36 (26)
Don’t recognize 4 (1)
(MoE: ±3.5%)

On this question Mark Dayton went from +15 to +12. But just looking at the numbers that way undersells the drop in his favorable rating, which was eight points. The good news is that his unfavorable rating also dropped. The big gainer was people having a neutral opinion.

So this isn’t a case of people going from having a favorable opinion of Mark Dayton to an unfavorable one. It’s a case of people having previously had a favorable (and an unfavorable) opinion of the Govenror and moving into the “meh” column.

This poll is a little bit schizophrenic; showing Mark Dayton with the highest job approval ratings he’s had to date, while at the same time showing some erosion in his favorable rating. Those things aren’t necessarily at odds, you can have a neutral opinion of a person while still approving of how they do their job and if I had to choose, I’d take the higher job approvals over the higher favorables. But just focusing on the increase in his job approval numbers misses the fact that Dayton’s favorables have declined.

Putting that aside, the mere fact that Mark Dayton has weathered the recent storm of negative news is a very positive sign for his re-election chances.

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