January 31, 2005


Approval rates for Dayton, Coleman drop (Rob Hotakainen, 1/31/05, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Minnesota Sens. Mark Dayton and Norm Coleman both took hits to their public image in the past year, with their job approval ratings falling below 50 percent, according to the latest Minnesota Poll.

Dayton, a Democrat who's up for reelection next year, took the heaviest blow: His approval rating declined by 15 points in a year, from 58 percent to 43 percent. [...]

Dayton's job approval decreased among all categories of Minnesotans, grouped by age, education, income, party and ideology, with the largest drop among men -- down 27 points -- and 18- to 24-year-olds -- down 31 points. [...]

The poll, which was conducted from Sunday, Jan. 23, through Wednesday, came during a week in which Dayton was in the headlines. First, Rep. Gil Gutknecht, R-Minn., announced that he was considering a run against Dayton, who is regarded by the Cook Political Report as the most vulnerable Senate Democrat seeking reelection next year. Then Dayton gave a highly publicized speech on the Senate floor, accusing Rice of lying to the American people and Congress while making the case for war against Iraq in 2002. In his Tuesday speech, Dayton said his vote against Rice was "a statement that this administration's lying must stop now."

Dayton, who routinely accuses the Bush administration of making false statements, received national -- even worldwide -- attention after making his remarks as part of such a high-profile debate. His office was flooded with more than 4,000 e-mails and phone calls, most of them positive, and Dayton was featured on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show."

This should be the easiest, but far from only, GOP pickup in '06.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 31, 2005 1:28 PM

Is the Star Tribune the lefty rag that others in the blogosphere have had problems with?

While I don't dispute OJ's assertion (that the GOP should be able to pick up this seat) the fact that Coleman also showed a significant drop could mean the poll is flawed or that MN are just negative on all of their elected officials.

Posted by: AWW at January 31, 2005 1:43 PM

It just seems to me that if Meet the Press, Face the Nation and the Little George on Sunday program are available and the best you can do is Comedy Central, that you have a problem with stature.

I don't know if Gutknecht is the man though, it would seem to me that the candidate needs to be someone with a significant Twin Cities presence.

Posted by: Bart at January 31, 2005 1:56 PM

Coleman's drop was just 7 points, after a hard election where he burned a lot of political capital. Coleman is a good politician, he'll be able to build it back up in four years. Dayton, on the other hand, is a terrible politician. Check out Powerline for the treasure trove of quotes that the Republicans will be able to throw at him in 2006. OJ's right, Dayton is finished.

Posted by: Timothy at January 31, 2005 2:00 PM

I wonder, too, if some respondents might be confusing Senator Norm Coleman with the Star Tribune's ankle-biting Angry Left columnist Nick Coleman.

Posted by: Mike Morley at January 31, 2005 3:16 PM

The methodology was the one (registered voters, not likely) that always gave Kerry 5 or more points against Bush than likely voters would have. In short, it is as good as Dayton could have hoped for!

Posted by: Moe from NC at January 31, 2005 3:17 PM

Molten lead! Molten lead!

Posted by: LUCIFEROUS at January 31, 2005 3:20 PM

I always get a big kick when Democrats lob accusations at GWB for lying, after the dissembling scoundrel that last occupied the White House. WhatEVER.

Clinton wouldn't know the truth if it came up and bit him in the ass. Unless it was overweight, hair piled up to there, and wearing a thong, of course ...

Posted by: Jeff Brokaw at January 31, 2005 5:21 PM

The quote in the story from the "political science professor from Minneapolis" is a hoot--no wonder these people are clueless if she's teaching them.

Seriously, the news is worse for Dayton because he's up for re-election sooner. Both men are ciphers in part because their opponents were the story in their elections (Rod Grams's unpopularity, the Wellstone-Mondale memorial service debacle). The article's claim that Minnesotans still hold Coleman's party switch against him seems laughable--that was years ago, before he won his seat.

Posted by: AC at January 31, 2005 7:22 PM