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Obama up by 8% on Romney in Minnesota

DFL chided for “lackluster” effort on voting amendment; analyzing T-Paw’s decision; anti-obesity efforts; new owners for City Pages; and more.

President Obama has a solid 8 percent lead among Minnesota voters. Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib says: “President Obama has established a substantial lead against Republican challenger Mitt Romney in Minnesota but remains under the critical 50 percent mark and trails Romney among independent voters, according to a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll. The poll shows Obama drawing 48 percent of likely voters to Romney’s 40 percent. Part of Obama’s advantage comes from a yawning gender gap in his favor. Romney has a slight edge among men, but the president leads among women voters by more than 20 percentage points. Obama wallops Romney in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, but that support falls off quickly in the outer suburbs and exurbs, where Romney leads.”

The state DFL is taking heat for doing so little to fight the GOP’s voting amendment. Tim Pugmire at MPR says: “[Phyllis] Hill [lead organizer with the Twin Cities faith-based community group ISAIAH] is frustrated by the campaign’s lack of resources, so she recently paid for lawn signs for the nonpartisan group to distribute. She is personally disappointed that the Minnesota DFL Party hasn’t done more to help the anti-voter ID campaign. ‘I just feel like, ‘Why haven’t you come out on this?’ she said. ‘And what I’ve heard is that they say ‘because we couldn’t win it.’ Well, it’s because you didn’t try. You can’t tell me that each ballot you went into you knew you were going to win.’ Although DFL officials say they have tried to support the campaign, other voter ID opponents share similar concerns. … [Rev. Jerry] McAfee credits some Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, state Rep. Bobby Joe Champion and state Sen. Jeff Hayden, all of Minneapolis, for taking strong and visible stands against voter ID. But he’s critical of the DFL, which he claims has not done the same. ‘What black folk need to do is wake up and evaluate the Democratic Party harder than they’ve been doing,’ McAfee said. ‘Because they’ve left us out to dry, and many others.’ “

At the Forum papers, Don Davis takes another look at the effect of T-Paw scratching his name from Minnesota’s candidate list … for a couple of years: “Minnesota speculation was heavy on Pawlenty challenging U.S. Sen. Al Franken in 2014. That now appears unlikely to happen, and if all goes well for Pawlenty he could stick to the lucrative Washington lobbying scene after twice losing out as a vice presidential candidate. Speculation now turns to who Republicans could put up as a Franken challenger.”

In The Atlantic, Lindsay Abrams notes Minnesota’s contribution to the anti-obesity campaign. “In 2011 a high-energy anti-obesity ad (video embedded) became something of a meme in the North Star State. If it didn’t inspire sedentary Minnesotans to join in the “Do Groove,” it at least made a celebrity of its sweater-vested protagonist. That ad embodied aspects of effective anti-obesity campaigns identified by a recent Yale study. Like First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative — it focused on positive motivation while avoiding explicit mention of the elephant in the room: obesity. Few feelings were hurt, but was it effective? … There are some obvious parallels in the Minnesota campaign to one undertaken in Georgia — down to the resemblance of the little girls featured. In both, the focus is on childhood obesity, with the acknowledgement that unhealthy eating is a pattern set early that can follow them into adulthood. These new ads also highlight the role that parents have in shaping these habits, something that the Yale study identified as potentially off-putting to audiences.”

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The GleanThat 80% figure is holding. At City Pages, Aaron Rupar notes a study on the earning power of women vs. men. “A study by the National Partnership for Women and Families finds that Minnesota women who work full time pull in a median salary of $40,416, compared to $50,580 for men. That $10,164 difference (or 80 cents for every dollar men make) is actually more equitable than the 77-cents-for-women-per-dollar-for-men national norm. Minority women have it particularly bad, the study finds. Nationally, African American women make 64 cents and Latinas are paid just 55 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. It should be noted that the study doesn’t sort by profession, meaning the pay disparity doesn’t necessarily mean women are making less than men for the same jobs.

GOP Rep. Mary Franson, arguably an heir to a crown Our Favorite Congresswoman currently wears, is of course avowedly anti-gay marriage. At the lefty site Think Progress, Zack Beauchamp writes: “Minnesota incumbent State Rep. Mary Franson (R) defended her support for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman during a debate last week, arguing that the measure would protect the state’s children from abnormal behavior. Franson said:

My concerns are that our children in our schools could be taught some liberal agendas because of the marriage amendment. Because in the schools they may be taught that, this is normal behavior. I personally do not believe it is … that’s something that I wish to protect our children from.

I assume intolerance is a “normal behavior”?

Related … former Gov. Arne Carlson — he of the blunt opinions  writes in his blog: “[R]ecently, [Congresswoman Michele Bachmann] was relegated to a minor role outside the Republican National Convention in Tampa and her pronouncements are now carried closer to the obituary section of the newspaper than page one. What has happened to Bachmann is common with the [Joe] McCarthy types — they rise quickly as they step loudly and carelessly on the reputations of innocent people and they fall just as rapidly in accordance with the public’s insistence on truth and decency.  Rising Republican criticism has clearly hastened her downturn. But the Bachman story deserves to be more than a brief historical footnote.  For over a decade, she has attempted to define patriotism and conservatism while cloaking it under her interpretation of the Bible. … As a member of Congress, she rolled up a stunning record of absences.  For instance, from July 2011 to October 2011, she missed more than 50 percent of the recorded votes in the U.S. House of Representatives.  In the following quarter, from October 2011 to January 2012, her absenteeism hit over 90 percent. Yet, she collected full pay and full benefits including federal health care which she condemns as socialism when made available to all Americans.” But Governor, she just reminded voters of how hard she’s worked for her district.

There’s not much fun in boating Minnesota’s rivers. Mark Steil at MPR says: “The drought has pushed river levels in some parts of Minnesota to near record lows, forcing the state Department of Natural Resources to suspend water pumping permits for dozens of businesses and other users. Falling river levels also have transformed many streams, including the Minnesota River, which is dramatically low near Mankato, with a daily flow of 265 cubic feet per second, about a third of what it should be this time of year. At about 1 foot, the water level is the third-lowest on record. Normally the river might be 10 feet deep in spots, and the length of a football field or more across. But near downtown Mankato, the river is now more sand than stream.”

The parent company of City Pages is being sold, but the current owners are hanging on to their controversial Backpage.com “service.” At MPR, Mark Zdechlik reports: “The Village Voice is being sold, along with all of its affiliated free arts weeklies, but the deal excludes the online classified site Backpage.com, whose listings have drawn fire for promoting the illegal sex trade. The deal includes Westword in Denver; New Times in Phoenix, Miami and Broward, Fla.; Houston Press; Observer in Dallas; Riverfront Times in St. Louis; City Pages in Minneapolis and OC Weekly in southern California. … [Jim] Larkin and [Michael] Lacey, the founders of Village Voice Media Holdings, said they were ‘ready to move on and hand the reins to a new generation of writers, editors and publishers.’ Backpage.com will ‘become the centerpiece of a new online classified advertising company with business worldwide,’ the statement said.” Classy, gentlemen. Really classy.