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SCSU poll shows declining approval numbers for Democratic leaders but no political gain for GOP

MinnPost file photo by James Nord
The St. Cloud State University annual political poll has delivered declining job approval numbers for Democrats Sen. Al Franken and Gov. Mark Dayton.

The well-respected St. Cloud State University annual political poll has delivered declining job approval numbers for Democrats Sen. Al Franken and Gov. Mark Dayton, but according to the director of the poll, Republicans don’t appear to be benefiting.

The poll interviewed 626 respondents on landlines and cell phones between Oct. 20 and 27. They were asked, “How would you rate the overall performance of Barack Obama, Mark Dayton, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken. Excellent, pretty good, only fair or poor?”

The results:


Dayton and Obama’s job approvals dropped from 53 percent and 47 percent, respectively, compared with the same poll taken in 2012.

On the relatively strong negatives for Franken and Dayton, Stephen Frank, political science professor at SCSU and director of the poll, said: “It’s not unexpected for public officials to pass out of a honeymoon and their ratings consistently go down. We’re seeing a lot of governors, Democrats and Republicans in the forties on job approval.”

In addition to job approval, the SCSU poll asked respondents to rank political figures and parties on a “feeling thermometer.” A register between 50 and 100 indicates favorable feelings, below 50 indicates unfavorable.

Respondents were “warm” to Klobuchar and Franken. Here are their scores for the four Democrats and for Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann:

  • Klobuchar: 66
  • Franken: 51
  • Dayton: 49
  • Obama: 46
  • Bachmann: 31.

Asked to rank their feelings for the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, the Tea Party and the Libertarian Party, none received a “warm” score:

  • Democratic Party: 47
  • Republican Party: 40
  • Libertarian Party: 37
  • Tea Party: 31.

According to Frank, this gauge indicates that Republicans are not picking up disaffected Democrats. 

Later this week, SCSU will release poll results on whether Minnesota is headed in the right or wrong direction, the most important problem facing the state, which party can best handle these problems, and which party should control state House of Representatives in 2014.

“When you see these two [sets of poll results] in context, I believe Republicans will take no particular glee in thinking, ‘We are going sweep elections in 2014,’ ” Frank said.

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 12/02/2013 - 04:25 pm.

    What I think is funny about these polls

    is that neither Franken nor Dayton is being put up against a real opponent of the GOP persuasion which is of course where the rubber will meet the road.

    None of the GOP candidates for either Senator or Governor seems to be a world beater. And by the time GOP internecine warfare is over for both of these nominations, including probably, primaries – there will barely be enough left of either the gubernatorial or senatorial candidates to win.

    The major source of false hope generation by the GOP is Obamacare.

    Leaders take arrows in their backs. But by the time the real campaign starts Obamacare will actually be a plus for both incumbents. Voters actually want Obamacare to succeed. The major cause of bankruptcy is medical bills. Pre-existing conditions – now used to exclude people – will be a thing of the past. The GOP has nothing to replace Obamacare with. And both Franken and Dayton are very tough campaigners who will certainly point this out.

  2. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 12/02/2013 - 09:14 pm.

    Dayton and Franken – the media darlings

    Dayton basically said – “if you like you property taxes, you can keep your property taxes.” Of course, he was not telling the truth.

    Franken basically stated –“if you like your health insurance, you can keep your health insurance.” Of course, he was not telling the truth as well.

    The DFL “journalism” outlets will continue to provide political cover for Dayton and Franken in an effort bolster their approval numbers.

    We all know how “the media” reacts when Michele Bachman makes outlandish statements. The same media is strangely silent when it concerns the less than truthful statements of their approved politicians.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 12/03/2013 - 08:22 am.

      Would you prefer we had dictators?

      I am so weary of people calling it “lying” when a politician has simply overstated what he or she can singlehandedly accomplish. Obama certainly got the ball rolling to redo health care in this country, but the minute it got into the many hands of those writing the actual legislation, the details were far from in his complete control. Would you prefer it otherwise?

      Dayton may have said he intended to lower property taxes (no – I don’t have a quote – perhaps the original poster does?) but once the many cities got their new monies but opted not to use them to lower property taxes, it was largely out of his hands. Would you prefer it otherwise?

      All of those who are criticizing politicians for what they call “lying” don’t seem to realize that for their criticisms to hold any real validity, the politician in question would have actually had to have had singular uncontested power and control over the issue which is the subject of the criticism. In other words, a dictatorship. And of course, that is not the case. Therefore, these politicians may have made mis-statements or overstatements, but their statements were anything but willful lies.

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 12/03/2013 - 10:29 am.

        He said the following to get re-elected:

        “No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise. If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.”

        That statement turned out to be a lie. Period.

        By some counts, he made this “promise” over 30 times. When they realized it wasn’t true, his campaign staff is known to have debated whether or not he should stop saying it. They decided he should keep saying it.

        • Submitted by Pat Berg on 12/03/2013 - 12:18 pm.

          Campaign promises

          If we start making it a point to publicly point out that this or that politician is a “liar” every time each and every politician is unable to keep a campaign promise, there would be little time to discuss much else. Most people understand that campaign promises are aspirational goals and use them as a way to evaluate what is important in any given candidate’s value system rather than expecting that – dictator-like – a candidate who is elected is then going to be able to bring each and every one of those campaign promises to reality in exactly the way stated during the campaign.

          The Affordable Care Act went through such a sausage grinder over the course of its legislative birth that holding Obama solely responsible for the changes that evolved and made it no longer tenable for that campaign promise to be realized makes no sense at all. (Isn’t it the Tea Partiers who always like to complain about how long it was and that no one got to read it before it was passed?)

          Using it as an excuse to hang the label “liar” around his neck is simply one more example of Republicans/conservatives/Tea Partiers/other Obama-haters holding him up to a higher standard just so they will have more excuses to criticize him.

  3. Submitted by mark wallek on 12/03/2013 - 08:58 am.

    Dems don’t deserve to gain support

    Practically speaking there is little practical difference between the parties now. Forget the lip flapping differences, these are meaningless. None of the so-called representatives are doing anything other than making sure their checks keep coming. We still have off shore tax shelters. We still have an increasingly dependent, and growing welfare class and an excessively rich sliver of the upper crust. Our environmental laws, when not being trashed, are rarely enforced, as environmental degradation is obvious. So while the pols do nothing but accept campaign donations and look good in their expensive clothes and feel good on their more than adequate medical coverage, we citizens would like a raise sometime over these past six years, an end to capitalized education and medicine, and a nation that actually cares about the well being of it’s citizens. The lip flapping is always avaliable, but little else looks to be on the national agenda.

  4. Submitted by Elsa Mack on 12/03/2013 - 11:21 am.

    Where’s the Left?

    Looking at the party-favorability ratings, I find it odd that the choices given position the Democrats as the only party on the Left. The Democrats are certainly not the only nor the farthest left-leaning party in existence, and if we’re including relatively marginal third parties like the Tea Party (which is really just a part of the Republican Party) and the Libertarians, why not include the Greens? the Socialists?

    For that matter, why are you including only Michele Bachmann as a representative of the Republicans? She’s an outlier. Aren’t there any other, more moderate Republicans with state-wide name recognition?

    My guess is that some loss of approval for Obama, Franken, etc., comes from liberal disappointment that they have been too moderate. It’s no surprise that this lost support does not accrue to the Republicans or other right-leaning groups. Where it does go isn’t reflected in the survey, probably because the survey does not look at the full political spectrum.

  5. Submitted by Rick Ryan on 12/03/2013 - 01:22 pm.

    Campaign Promises

    I am Shocked, SHOCKED, that politicians tell voters what they want to hear when Campaigning.

    Governor Dayton and the Legislature replaced some of the Local Government Aid (LGA) that had been cut in prior years. What a municipality chooses to do with that increased LGA is a Local decision. Maybe they used it to do deferred maintenance, maybe they use to hold down property taxes from even larger increases; whatever was decided was a local decision.

    As far as President Obama and the ACA, who could have imagined that anyone would want to keep a Health Care Plan that is nothing more than a scam plan? The ACA is by no means perfected law, it is what could get 60 votes in the Senate.

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