SCSU survey data offer encouraging news for DFL

The second half of a St. Cloud State University political survey delivers some encouraging news for Minnesota Democrats.

The annual survey found a dramatic increase in those identifying with the DFL Party.

“The 16-point advantage for Democrats is the largest the survey has observed,” said Steve Frank, the survey director and political science professor at SCSU, in releasing the data. “In the past few years, it has been about 7 to 11 points.”

The survey interview of 629 adults found this breakdown on party identification:

Democratic — 45%
Republican — 29%
Libertarian — 4%
Independence — 3%

That leaves 19 percent of respondents expressing no party identification.

The Democratic advantage was reflected in survey results that found 46 percent favoring DFL control of the House, and 45 percent believing the state is headed in the right direction.

It should be noted the survey was taken before the peak of negative news coverage of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and MnSure.

The interviews, conducted Oct. 20 to 27, included both cell phones and land lines.

Results from the first half of the survey, released earlier this month, showed declining approval numbers for Democratic office holders but no real political gain for Republicans.

Here’s a look at the newly released survey results:

On which party should control the Minnesota House:

Democrats — 46%
Republicans — 31%
Other — 10%

The survey notes that the 15-point advantage for Democrats is “the biggest difference we have observed…  When considered with our findings of party affiliation and the feeling thermometer this is not a good place for the Republican Party to be.”

(In findings released earlier, 60 percent of the respondents, in ranking their “feelings” for political parties, gave a cool indicator to the Republican Party.) 

On right direction/wrong track for the state:

Right direction — 45%
Wrong track — 38%

The survey notes: “For the first time in over three-plus years, more Minnesota adults think the state is headed in the right direction compared to those who think the state is on the wrong track. We are much more optimistic than Americans nationwide (roughly 30 percent right direction for the country — 60 percent or more say wrong track).”

Top problems facing the state:

Taxes — 13%
Economy —12%
Health care — 10%
Unemployment — 10%
Education — 10%
Budget — 8%
Other — 8%

On which political party can best handle state’s problems:

Democratic Party — 36%
Republican Party — 25%.

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Jeff Michaels on 12/18/2013 - 02:03 pm.

    Unreliable polls

    It has been a long time since I have seen any very early poll that did not show how well DFLers are going to do. The St. Cloud State poll usually rivals the Minnesota Poll for accuracy. It is illuminating how often those polls suddenly tighten just before an election.

    I am confident that Senator Franken will be back to writing gags for Saturday Night Live by the end of 2014.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 12/19/2013 - 09:34 am.


      Any special reason why you believe Senator Franken will not be re-elected? Or is it just wishful thinking?

    • Submitted by Josh Lease on 12/19/2013 - 09:43 am.


      The SCSU poll isn’t trying to predict the outcome of the election, it’s providing a snapshot of where things stand today. The party ID number is significant in that it’s attempting to assess the position of the electorate in MN. Will it prove to be accurate on election day? Too far off to predict and a lot of things can move that number, but you always prefer being the party in the lead.

      The attacks on the SCSU poll are spurious. Steve Frank is an intellectually honest and rigorous as they come. He’s got over 20 years experience in polling and if you think there’s some kind of partisan bias in his numbers you’re dreaming. Their methodology is credible and their samples are representative.

    • Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 12/19/2013 - 10:51 am.

      The confident gut

      Conservatives think data is just another opinion, no more reliable than their gut.

      To pick at the poll a bit, there’s a difference between whether the state is on the right track and whether the country is, so we can’t say Minnesotans are more optimistic because they have a more optimistic view of their state than all Americans have about the whole country. I also have to argue with the breakout of issues. It makes no sense to break out the economy and unemployment as two different things when the problem with our economy is unemployment. It’s like asking which do you prefer, this shirt, or the collar of the shirt.

  2. Submitted by jason myron on 12/18/2013 - 03:58 pm.

    Seeing as you folks have been confident

    of so many things in the last couple of years, and went to bed disappointed over the outcome of each one, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Franken has nothing to worry about.

Leave a Reply