Minnesota 6th congressional district candidate and noted pitchman Tom Emmer (www.startribune.com).
by Tony Petrangelo
Apr 13, 2014, 12:00 PM

The Weekly Wrap 4-13

Fundraising numbers for the first quarter of 2014 are starting to roll in, so that will occupy the majority of the space in The Wrap™ this week. Occupying some of the other space in The Wrap™ this week is; news concerning the races in a couple of Minnesota Congressional seats and polling results concerning a number of issues being currently discussed at the Capitol.

♣ The Big News!, totally unsurprising as it may be, is that Tom Emmer has won the endorsement of district Republicans for the 6th congressional district seat that he is seeking.

♣ The above Big News! item was made all the more unsurprising because earlier in the week Phil Krinkie said he would skip the convention all together. It probably wouldn’t have affected the outcome of Krinkie had showed up, which is why he didn’t, but it made something that already seemed like a foregone conclusion even more certain.

Krinkie on why he decided to skip the convention:

We just feel that it’s a little hypocritical to go to the convention, ask people to vote for you and support you and then turn around and run in a primary.

♣ Before any of that happened though, Tom Emmer released his fundraising results for the quarter:

Tom Emmer, who is competing for the Republican nomination to run in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, raised about $200,000 in the first quarter of 2014, according to his campaign.

That’s on top of the roughly $625,000 Emmer raised in 2013, according to previous filings with the Federal Election Commission.

At this point Tom Emmer should probably be considered the prohibitive favorite for this seat. He’s ahead in money, has the party’s endorsement, and not only that, he has two people running against him to split whatever anti-Emmer sentiment there might be.

Tim Walz has himself an endorsed challenger in Minnesota’s first congressional district, something that didn’t happen last cycle when the district convention deadlocked between Mike “not Steve” Parry and Allen “OG” Quist:

Delegates of the 1st District Republican Convention voted Saturday in favor of Aaron Miller as the nominee to face incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, DFL-Mankato.

Miller, a senior account hospital manager with Revo Biologic and a command sergeant major in the Army Reserves, said being “a private-sector guy” is his leading strength heading into the general election. Secondly, he has worked in health care for 15 years and wants to see Republicans provide alternatives to Obamacare, rather than call for repeals.

♣ More fundraising totals:

Sen. Al Franken: $2,700,000

Rep. Collin Peterson: $218,000

DFL: $1,200,000
MNGOP: $706,000
Scott Honour: $250,000

♣ KSTP released the results of a poll they conducted using their longtime polling contractor SurveyUSA. The results of what we currently know about that poll are what follows. Questions 1-5, which presumably deal with the approval scores for Al Franken, Mark Dayton and others, have not yet been released.

SurveyUSA (4/8, no trend lines):

Do you approve or disapprove of the performance of Minnesota’s health insurance exchange called MNsure?
Approve 31
Disapprove 44
Not Sure 25

Do you approve or disapprove of the performance of the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as “Obamacare,” in helping people get health insurance?
Approve 33
Disapprove 54
Not Sure 13
(MoE: ±4.3%)

These numbers are hardly surprising given the problems both MNSure and the ACA encountered on the way to the open enrollment deadline. It will be interesting to see what effect this has had on Governor Dayton’s approval ratings, as past polling has shown no decline despite the trouble with MNSure.

SurveyUSA (4/8, no trend lines):

Do you think Marijuana should? or should not? be legal … when used for medical purposes?
Approve 68
Disapprove 24
Not Sure 8

Do you think Marijuana should? or should not? be legal … when used for recreational purposes?
Approve 29
Disapprove 64
Not Sure 7
(MoE: ±4.1%)

I don’t recall ever seeing numbers quite this different for these two questions before. The most recent poll in Minnesota concerning the issue was in February by Mason-Dixon and it found similar levels of support for full legalization, but a much softer level of support for medical Marijuana, only 51% support with 41% opposition. That’s a 10 point gap, while this SurveyUSA poll shows a 44 point gap.

With the numbers on recreational Marijuana being so similar between the two polls it’s hard to read the vast difference in support for medical weed as anything other than movement in that direction. And over an incredibly short period of time.

I’m sure that Governor Mark Dayton’s campaign is polling this issue as well, and it could certainly be this rapid movement that caused him to reopen it.

But there’s a caveat of course, as there always is with polls concerning policy positions where slightly different wordings between two polls can have a big effect. When I said that the numbers on recreational Marijuana were similar I left something out. While the question wording on the issue of medical Marijuana were virtually identical between the two polls, the wording on the issue of recreational Marijuana were not very similar.


Mason-Dixon wording:

Do you think Minnesota should or should not follow the example of Colorado and legalize marijuana for recreational use?

SurveyUSA wording:

Do you think Marijuana should? or should not? be legal … when used for recreational purposes?

For some odd reason, Mason-Dixon decided to use the phrase “follow the example of Colorado”. There is really no need for this phrase, and it has the potential to skew the results simply because a person has heard things about the way Colorado has handled Marijuana legalization, and they may or may not want to follow that lead. There are plenty of other ways in which this wording might be problematic though, some people may just have strong feelings one way or the other about Colorado.

The point is, if Mason-Dixon had used the same question wording as SurveyUSA they may have found different results, rather then finding the same results. Or, they may have found the same thing. Because of this question wording difference it’s probably best to be careful when making a direct comparison between the two polls.

It’s hard to see though how the issue with the difference in question wording on the baseline question of recreational Marijuana, would account for such a large shift when comparing the medical Marijuana numbers. I suspect that some large share of the difference between the two polls is actually movement in favor of medial Marijuana. Something that’s almost bound to happen when mothers who just want to be able to obtain medicine for their children get a little airtime. It’s hard not to sympathize.

SurveyUSA (4/8, no trend lines):

The Minnesota Legislature is considering increasing the state minimum wage from $6.15 an hour to $9.50. Do you approve? Or disapprove?
Approve 61
Disapprove 32
Not Sure 7

If the minimum wage increases, should it automatically increase each year by the rate of inflation?
Approve 49
Disapprove 40
Not Sure 11
(MoE: ±4.2%)

This result also fits into the results from the Mason-Dixon poll in February, at least the first question. They asked the question a little differently, and again, for seemingly no good reason, other then to maybe declare that $9.50 an hour wasn’t popular, even though it was in fact the most popular option respondents had to choose from.

Since I did it on the Marijuana issue, here are the question wording differences between the two polls on the minimum wage issue.


Do you think that Minnesota’s minimum wage of $6.15 per hour should be:
Kept at its current level of $6.15 per hour
Increased to $9.50 per hour
Increased to a rate between $6.15 and $9.50 per hour


The Minnesota Legislature is considering increasing the state minimum wage from $6.15 an hour to $9.50. Do you approve? Or disapprove?

In the Mason-Dixon poll the results were 42% for $9.50, 37% for somewhere in between, and 16% for no increase. If the poll had used the SurveyUSA wording then those 37% who were for something in between would have to choose between $9.50 and nothing. So the spread of possible results would be 42%-53% all the way up to 79%-16%. Exactly in the middle of that possible range are the results from the SurveyUSA poll.

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