Skip to main content

Minnesota Poll finds high level of approval for Gov. Dayton


As Gov. Mark Dayton recovers from hip surgery, a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll has got to look like good medicine to the incumbent DFL'er.

Heading into the November campaign, Dayton, 67, showed the highest job approval rating of his term. The poll found that 58 percent of Minnesotans approve of the job that Dayton is doing, with 29 percent saying they disapprove. That ranking is up 1 percentage point from June, when Dayton's approval rating stood at 57 percent and his disapproval number was 31 percent.

“Given that it’s been a challenging couple of months with MNsure and the light-rail line and the like, I think it shows people are looking at the big picture of how the state is doing overall,” Dayton told the newspaper. “I’m certainly gratified by these numbers, but there’s a lot more work ahead."

The poll surveyed 800 Minnesota adults between Feb. 10 and 12 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Dayton said that he anticipates that his ratings will go down as the campaign against him fires up. Republican challenger and former lawmaker Marty Seifert came in with the highest number of votes in the non-binding GOP straw poll in the Republican caucuses.

In the same Minnesota Poll, President Obama’s job approval rating slipped below 50 percent for the first time since he took office. Half of Minnesotans disapprove of the job Obama is doing and only 43 percent give him high marks.

In December, MinnPost had the results of St. Cloud State University's annual political poll, which showed declining job approval numbers for Dayton. The poll surveyed respondents at the end of October. Dayton’s approval had dropped to 44 percent from 53 percent compared with the same poll taken in 2012. Respondents also ranked the performance of President Obama and Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken.

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 who scored 66 and 51 on the scaled. Dayton's score was 49.

Last month, the Pioneer Press looked ahead to the campaign and election and noted that in his long political career, Dayton has never before campaigned for a second term. In statewide elections, Dayton was elected as state auditor and U.S. senator before he became governor. But he stepped down from both of his previous offices after one term.

The story recalled that Dayton was elected to the governor's job by a narrow margin, winning the race by just 8,770 votes after a recount.

Next Up

Kirill Kaprizov

Wild win battle of NHL's hottest teams, extend winning streak to six

Kirill Kaprizov delivered a shootout winner to take down the Maple Leafs.

Eric Kendricks

Vikings downgrade Eric Kendricks to out against Lions

The Vikings have also activated Michael Pierce from injured reserve.

u.s. attorney

Minnesotan sentenced after assaulting man with baseball bat

Marshall Wayne Boshey was sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release.

Target store

Target's gift card discount is back, but for this weekend only

The fine print: for Target Circle members only (but membership is free).

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

Minneapolis teen arrested in St. Cloud after fleeing police in stolen vehicle

The vehicle was stolen in a car-jacking in Minneapolis Thursday.

snow, blowing snow

Winter storm warnings issued with heavy snow set to slam MN

Parts of northern Minnesota could see more than a foot of snow, but there won't be much in the Twin Cities.

D'Angelo Russell

With KAT out, Timberwolves can't upset Nets

D'Angelo Russell stepped up but couldn't overcome Brooklyn's firepower.

Everson Griffen Vikings dot com

Everson Griffen confirms he has bipolar disorder

"I’ve been running from it a long time. I’m not ashamed of it anymore.”

Angela Renee Jones, St. Cloud murder suspect

St. Cloud suspect now charged in two local murder cases

Both murders happened within a day of each other in June.