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Slam dunk: Minnesotans love Voter ID, Strib poll finds

AFTERNOON EDITION ALSO: More stadium developments — pollutants, fine print and ticket costs — and Chris Coleman’s thoughts; Pawlenty’s chances; a $100,000 Power Line deficit prize; and more.
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Slam dunk: Minnesotans love Voter ID, Strib poll finds

Look at it this way: According to a Minnesota Poll, more people support voter ID legislation than oppose taxpayer funding for a Vikings stadium. Eric Roper of the Strib writes: “Legislation requiring voters to present photo ID at the polls has ignited a partisan battle at the Capitol this spring, but an overwhelming majority of Minnesotans support the idea, according to a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll. Eighty percent of respondents said they favor a photo ID requirement, which Republican majorities at the Legislature have made one of their signature goals of the session. Democrats have almost universally opposed it, arguing that it will prevent members of some groups from voting. That party split was reflected in the poll: A whopping 94 percent of Republicans supported photo ID, compared to 64 percent of Democrats.”

Conservative Pajamas Media is all over those numbers. Blogger Christian Adams writes: “The Minnesota Star Tribune just released a poll showing eighty percent support for Voter ID laws in Minnesota. This is devastating news to opponents and the vote fraud deniers. You can barely get eighty percent to say they think Elvis is really dead. The public seems to support Voter ID despite a steady media drumbeat against it. I’ve covered the media onslaught against Voter ID in places like Wisconsin, Texas and elsewhere in the nation.  The opposition is coordinated and using the same talking points.  This year, a new talking point was added their arsenal — cost — a nice post-election touch. But Voter ID supporters should not underestimate the desire of the Holder Justice Department to find a sacrificial lamb and attack or block voter ID somewhere, preferably in a state covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.”

MPR’s Phil Picardi has a quick update on what’s actually in the soil in Arden Hills … that makes it a toxic, superfund site: “The superfund status of the site means the land is polluted and will need more cleanup before a stadium can be built there. Hans Navy supervises the Brownfield Program for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. He says there are two main contaminants at the site caused by it being used for ammunition manufacturing by the U.S. Army. ‘So, as you can guess, lead is one of the contaminants at the site,’ Navy said. ‘Also, in the manufacturing process they used a type of industrial insolvent called TCE or tri chlora ethelide, that’s also a contaminant at this site.’ ”

Very good breakdown of fine-print costs on that Ramsey County stadium deal from MPR’s Tim Nelson. Among the most interesting: “The most interesting and puzzling number in this deal, though, isn’t the [Personal Seat Licenses] cost or the number of seats, or the infrastructure cost. It’s another, buried on page 6. ‘Project Savings’ says the heading. It gives the first $41 million in savings — actual costs below budget — to the Vikings. That aligns nicely with about a 10 percent discount on their $407 million contribution, so it may just be trivia that its a non-round number. But someone at the negotiating table with the Vikings and Ramsey County was confident enough that there’s a prize in the bottom of that box that they spelled out how to dole it out. They even put a top end on the figure: ‘The County and the Team shall share equally in the next $100 million in net project savings. The Team, County and State shall share equally in any net project savings greater than $141 million.’ Maybe it’s just the equivalent of the office pool imagining what they’ll do if they win the lottery. But someone has made contingency plans if that $1.057 billion turns out to be high. It’s yet another indication that there may be more money in this deal than at first blush.”

St. Cloud Times sports editor Dave DeLand thinks “Joe Tailgater” deserves a vote on the stadium deal. He writes: “How much will it cost to go to an NFL game there? Again, good question, but Joe Tailgater would be well-advised to start saving his nickels. At the two most recently-opened NFL stadiums — Dallas (2009) and Meadowlands/New Jersey (2010) — the average ticket price last season was $110.20 for the Cowboys, $111.69 for the New York Giants and $114.64 for the New York Jets. The average Vikings ticket at the Metrodome last season cost $75.69, so it seems reasonable to expect that it would be at least half again as much in a new facility.” Don’t forget — anything the Vikings want to charge for “tailgating” rights on “their” property.

Oh, and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman has finally decided what to say about the Ramsey County stadium plan. Writes Rochelle Olson for the Strib: “[T]he mayor — who said he is still non-committal on the project — said he considers the state requirement of a strong local government partner to be an ‘unfair burden.’ ‘People in Virginia [Minnesota] watch the Vikings on TV. People in Mankato are eating buffalo wings and drinking beer on Sunday [and watching the games],’ Coleman said, speaking to a reporter Thursday morning. In analyzing whether to support the Arden Hills proposal, Coleman said, ‘I start with the premise the Vikings are an important asset. We’ve got to find a way to keep them here.’ He said however he needs more information on this deal. Coleman said he does not know how the 0.5 percent sales tax collection breaks down, but said he has heard it raises from $28 million to $30 million — with up to $17 million coming from St. Paul. The mayor said he wants to know how the city benefits in this deal and if some of the sales taxes would go to libraries and parks in Ramsey County and St. Paul, just as the Hennepin County’s sales tax collections for the Minnesota Twins’ Target Field do. Details of the Ramsey County-Vikings proposal, which were released Wednesday, do not mention such donations. Instead, Coleman said the state should consider a statewide one-cent per bottle tax on beer and liquor as an alternative way to fund the stadium.  In his rough estimate, the mayor added, that tax could finance $250 million in bonds. Two cents per bottle would finance $500 million, or nearly the entire state-county portion, he added.”

Veteran political reporter Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times pays our guy Tim Pawlenty a compliment mitigated by contrast: “[T]he decidedly bland and uncharismatic Pawlenty stands a good chance of being the Republicans’ next candidate for president. And he might even turn out to be a pretty good nominee, with his message focused steadfastly on the issues that helped Republicans win last year’s congressional elections: low taxes, spending cuts, less regulation. How could Pawlenty, who currently gets the support of roughly 5 percent of Republican voters on a good day, win the nomination? Mostly by process of elimination. Every potential Republican candidate has flaws. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the putative front-runner, is distrusted by many conservatives for his moderate past, especially for passing a health care law that looks suspiciously like “Obamacare.” Some of the most intriguing potential candidates — real estate mogul Donald Trump, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — draw negative reactions from big chunks of the electorate. Some of the most electable — former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels — sound as if they don’t plan to run. By showing up in South Carolina, Pawlenty showcased one of his main strengths at the moment: He’s actually running.” … Which is kind of like the best things you could say about some of the guys your sister dated … they’re standing upright, they’re breathing and they bathe regularly.

Which for some reason leads me to the latest Public Policy Poll. As digested and analyzed by Josh Vorhees in Slate: “Slightly more than half of Republicans still doubt whether President Obama was born in the United States, according to new poll numbers out Tuesday. Thirty-four percent of those GOP voters surveyed last week by Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling said that they believe Obama was not born on domestic soil. Another 18 percent said they were unsure if he was. … Those numbers are a far cry from the percent who questioned where Obama was born before the White House released his long-form birth certificate last month. Still, when those who answered the question, “Do you think Barack Obama was born in the United States?” with either a “No” or a “Not Sure” are taken together they represent more than half of those surveyed and, obviously, make up a formidable bloc of primary voters that can’t be discounted in a wide-open GOP primary contest. Mitt Romney looks to be the candidate most likely to be hurt by the persistent “birther” faction. … Meanwhile, the candidates who appear to be benefitting most from the remaining birthers are Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachman and, ever so slightly, Donald Trump.  All of those candidates fare better among those who answered ‘No’ than they do overall with GOP voters. Palin support moves up from 12 percent to 17 percent, Michele Bachman support increases three points to 10 percent, Gingrich climbs two points to 15 percent and Donald Trump inches up from 8 percent to 9 percent.”

Finally, are you aware of The $100,000 Power Line Prize? I didn’t think so. Sponsored by the locally based uber-conservative blog and something called The Freedom Club. (If it says “freedom” anywhere in the title you know it’s really, really conservative.) “The Power Line Prize of $100,000 will be awarded to whoever can most effectively and creatively dramatize the significance of the federal debt crisis. Prizes will also be awarded to the runner-up and two third-place finishers. Anyone can enter the contest — individuals, companies (e.g., advertising agencies) or any other entity, as long as the contest rules are followed. Any creative product is eligible: videos, songs, paintings, screenplays, Power Point presentations, essays, performance art, or anything else, as long as the product is unique to the contest and has not previously been published or otherwise entered the public domain. Entries may address the federal debt crisis in its entirety, or a specific aspect of the debt crisis, such as: the impact of the debt crisis on the young; the role played by the “stimulus” (Where did the money go? Why didn’t it stimulate?); how entitlements drive the debt crisis; the current federal deficit; how the debt crisis impacts the economy; or any other aspect of the debt crisis.” I’ve already worked up my triple-X-rated, sock puppet revue explaining the effect of gay marriage on crippling debt.