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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Minnesota Caucuses: DFL is Not Ready for This One

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 02/05/08 00:49

by Dave Mindeman

As we approach the zero hour for caucuses, my confidence in the ability of the DFL structure to maintain an orderly process has approached absolute zero.

The public message is ...everybody come.... with little thought regarding "how many can we process in an hour and a half". That is a question that needed to be addressed long ago, but that ship has sailed.

Because the caucus dates were moved up, school facilities did not have the time to change their regularly scheduled activities. Normal caucus procedures needed to be altered to accomodate a "binding" presidential poll. And there has never been a test of the new registration method.....(which might have worked great in regular caucus years, but this year is nowhere near regular).

So, be prepared for some frustration and lines and confusion.

And be prepared for a late night for posting results. Good luck, DFL, you will need it!
comments (4) permalink

2008: A Presidential Year Like No Other

Category: Presidential Politics
Posted: 02/03/08 19:20

by Dave Mindeman

I think everybody agrees that this has been one of the most fascinating Presidential years they have ever seen. Everything about it is different... the length of time involved, the broad array of candidates, and the huge level of participation by the voters, both in numbers and diversity.

I haven't been heavily involved or active for a particular candidate in the Democratic contest because I have been very satisfied with the field. With the possible exception of Mike Gravel, I think any of the candidates, past and present, would have made excellent Presidents. The gradual attrition has been orderly and logical...as the voters have spoken.

The rancor that appeared during the South Carolina primary was a little disconcerting and unnecessary, but this contest has high stakes and strategy adjustments are high risk as well. The Clinton campaign hurt themselves with the attempted hardball, but I also believe they are working to mend those fences. The Obama campaign handled it well.... although I think some of his supporters showed a lack of political depth. I saw many comments on listservs about how the Obama faithful would never vote for the Clintons after "what they did". If they think they were hit with "dirty tricks" there, boy are they going to be shocked by the broader general campaign.

The Republicans have some serious issues to resolve. John McCain is approaching critical mass for the GOP nomination. About 6 months ago, he was dead in the water -- I was sure of it. But where the Democratic field is strong, the Republican field was too weak to take advantage of the McCain derailment. Now that he has renewed his GOP Moderate/Independent coalition, the Republican conservatives are crying foul.

The ironic thing is that John McCain is clearly the best (so to speak) Republican candidate to move into the general election. He could actually win..but even if he did, it might tear the Republican party apart.

There are many moving parts in this election. It is fascinating to watch and it is far, far from over.
comments (2) permalink

The 2008 Minnesota Progressive Survey

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 02/02/08 01:06

by Dave Mindeman

Over the course of the last week, we have done a survey of progressive activists regarding where they stand heading into precinct caucuses. This was not an opinion survey of the general populace or a statistically valid poll of any kind. It was an invitation only survey, e-mailed to known progressive activists who have been working grass roots for years. To give you a better understanding of who was getting these survey requests, we also including demographic questions. Here is a description based on the sampling that answered the survey:

Demographics of Respondents:

93.6% Will Attend Caucuses
92.6% Have Given Money to Candidates
51.1% Plan to be delegates to District Conventions
29.8% Will offer a Resolution at Caucuses
21.8 % Will be working for a Presidential candidate at caucuses
20.2% Will be working for a Senate candidate at caucuses

33.0% Have been State Convention Delegates
59.5% Have worked on phone banks
69.1% Have worked on Lit Drops
23.4% Have hosted a House Party
35.1% Have worked on Volunteer Coordination
41.5% Have worked on a Candidate Committee
19.1% Have Managed a Local Campaign

34% Have given over $500 to candidates since 2005
67% Have given over $200 to candidates since 2005

28.7%??Have children under 17
80.8%??Over 40 years of age

As you see, these are long time activists who have worked hard for the causes and candidates they support.

Some Things to Keep In Mind:

Although invitations were sent over a wide area, most of the respondents (60%) came from the 2nd Congressional District, with the rest spread out over the rest of the state. The 2nd District is the area where mnpACT! has had most of its activity. We did ask some questions regarding the 3rd and 6th Congressional Districts, but respondents were reluctant to answer the questions or just did not know the candidates. Response levels were too low to get a meaningful measurement.... so we will not be discussing that part of the survey.

Presidential Preference:

Please note that John Edwards announcement that he was suspending his campaign came at the tail end of our collection period.

Barak Obama???.42.6%
John Edwards???.27.7%
Hillary Clinton???.21.3%

Although Obama was the clear choice (incidently MoveOn.org announced they were endorsing Obama), it must be pointed out that this is a Straw Poll where voting can occur without officially caucusing. I would think that the number of votes would heavily favor normal caucus attendees, but there has been a concerted effort by the DFL to allow anyone to take part in the straw poll. In this survey, Green Party progressives chose Cynthia McKinney.

Minnesota Senate

Al Franken.....................62.8%
Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer....23.4%
Mike Ciresi......................9.6%
Others /Undecided...........4.3%

Among the activists, JNP is clearly gaining some traction, while Mike Ciresi is almost a non-factor. Since the activist community will dominate the convention, maybe JNP is the real threat to a Franken endorsement.... still, Franken seems to be in command on several fronts.

Health Care Issue

Universal Cvg/Single Payer/Government Sponsored...54.3%
Universal Coverage, Any Form?????????...40.4%
Modify Current System to Create Efficiencies???...5.3%
Current Programs are Sufficient??????.??.....0.0%

A liberal group looking for single payer, Universal coverage.

On Iraq

Leave Iraq Immediately??????????..............14.9%
Withdraw troops as soon as we can in a safe manner?76.6%
Maintain a presences that can keep the country safe?. 2.1%
Keep Troops in Iraq as long as they are needed???....2.1%
Maintain permanent bases for our own security???....1.1%

15% still want an immediate withdrawal.

Most Important Issue for 2008

(Asked respondents to rank in order of importance from 1 to 10)

Issue with rating average:

Iraq War??????.....3.01
Health Care????..?...3.20
Economy & Jobs???....3.43
Global Warming??....?..4.35
Balancing Budget??..?.6.67
Voting Integrity??....??6.83
Supreme Court?.??...?.6.93
Govt Corruption???....?7.09
Reproductive Rights?.......8.20

Health Care and Iraq were very close.

Approval Rating for Democrats

% of Good/Excellent Ratings

MN Legislature?????......43.0%
Democratic Congress??....?30.7%
Nancy Pelosi??????......36.8%
Harry Reid???????.......29.5%
Amy Klobuchar????.....?.70.1%
Betty McCollum????....?.73.1%
Jim Oberstar??????......75.6%
Colin Peterson?????.......40.8%
Keith Ellison?????......?.77.9%
Tim Walz???????.........63.6%

About what you would expect from a progressive group but that is a big "ouch" for Reid and Pelosi.

Sources of News Information

We were curious about how news information was gathered. This crowd were big NPR listeners on the radio and still went to the old newspaper and TV News. Mostly a reflection of an older crowd.

Traditional Newspapers..??.77.7%
Online Newspapers??.?....69.1%
Traditional TV News??....?51.1%
Cable News??????......51.1%
News Magazines???.??46.8%
Online Magazines????...28.7%

That was the survey for this year....it is interesting to see how the really engaged people think about the candidates and the issues. You can interpret the results in any manner you choose.

A big thank you to all who participated.

comments (1) permalink


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