More than half of Minnesotans say the state's economy is improving, according to a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll.
Of the 800 likely general election voters who were polled, 60 percent of the metro area and 55 percent of those in greater Minnesota say the economy is in better shape now compared to four years ago, even though about half those polled say their personal finances are about the same as they were in 2010.
About 20 percent say their finances have worsened.
Other findings from the poll:
- Views on the economy seemed to align with party affiliation: 80 percent who said they were Democrats say the economy improved, while fewer than one-third of Republicans think the economy got better.
- Roughly the same percent of respondents trust both parties to handle the economy: 38 percent trust Democrats, while 39 percent say they trust Republicans. The poll found 16 percent say they trusted neither party.
- Sixty percent of women saw improvement in the economy, while 49 percent of men did.
- Thirty-six percent of respondents say they'd support raising the state's gas tax to increase spending on transportation projects. Fifty-eight percent say they oppose this, while 6 percent were undecided.
For the poll, Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc. interviewed 800 likely general election voters from Sept. 8-10. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
The Star Tribune notes respondents' positive outlook on the economy could bode well for Democrats looking to hold on to their seats in the November election, noting DFL Gov. Mark Dayton has been at the helm during a time where the state has added jobs and strengthened its finances.
This could make it difficult for Republican challenger Jeff Johnson to give a strong message on the economy during his gubernatorial campaign, but the newspaper says he'll be able to play to those voters whose finances have stayed the same (54 percent of those polled) or have gotten worse (20 percent of those polled).
A Minnesota Poll released earlier this week found 45 percent of respondents would vote for Dayton, while 33 percent favored Johnson. Twenty percent were undecided.
Another Minnesota Poll found 49 percent of respondents support incumbent DFL Sen. Al Franken, while 36 percent support his Republican challenger, Mike McFadden. Eleven percent were undecided.