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Poll reveals most Minnesotans feeling strangely fine about personal finances

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As the economy creeps toward some kind of a recovery, a majority of Minnesotans feel their pocketbooks are in good to excellent shape.

At least that's the latest from the Minnesota Poll, conducted by the Star Tribune between June 11-13. The poll surveyed 800 Minnesotans by phone; it has a 3.5 percent margin of error.

The question "How would you rate your financial situation today? Would you say you are in excellent financial shape, good shape, only fair shape or poor shape?" drew 12 percent saying "excellent," 49 percent saying "good" and 29 percent saying "fair." Only 8 percent said "poor," and 2 percent -- maybe the only honest ones in the bunch? -- said they were "not sure."

This represents what the Strib calls "a huge jump" from February, when 45 percent gave their finances positive marks.

The paper quotes an analyst from the Federal Reserve bank in Minneapolis, who says “I’ve been watching the numbers pretty closely, and we’ve been in an economic expansion for a while here in Minnesota ... We’re in an economic expansion in the United States.”

Minnesota's economy, when based on GDP, is the 5th-fastest growing in the nation, and outpaced only by oil-crazy North Dakota in the region. The jobless rate is 5.3 percent, and has been about two points below the national rate since early 2010. The paper notes that "Star Tribune polls have shown that Minnesotans’ rating of their own financial situation did not improve from October 2008 to February 2013."

So what changed? Who knows? But the Fed source has a theory: “The stock market’s gone up a lot, and there’s been more and more positive news about home prices ... The average person probably has a home and therefore they feel wealthier.”

The paper also reports that those 65 and older feel the best about their situation, with 65 percent saying "excellent" or "good."

As for next year, poll respondents weren't necessarily bullish: 59 percent said they expect things to stay the same over the next 12 months.

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