Dayton's approval rating hits 54 percent: Here's how it's changed during his tenure

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Gov. Mark Dayton is showing some of his highest approval ratings since he took office in 2011, according to a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll.

The poll found the governor has the support of 54 percent of likely voters, while 36 disapprove and 10 percent are undecided.

His approval rating hit an all-time high in February 2014 at 58 percent, before dropping below 50 percent during his re-election campaign.

A look at how Dayton's approval rating has changed since his first year in office:

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Dayton's higher approval rating is good news for his administration as it pushes its legislative agenda, which includes increased funding for education and transportation.

His approval rating also comes after he was criticized over his decision to increase the pay of state commissioners by up to $35,000 a year, which resulted in a public spat between Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk. Dayton called him "conniving" and said he "stabbed me in the back."

Some Minnesotans seemed to appreciate this new side of Dayton. Thirty-one percent of people polled said they "like that Dayton speaks his mind," while 28 percent said he should have "kept his differences with Bakk private."

Some more highlights from the poll:

  • His high approval rating is above 50 percent for every age group, except for 50-64 year olds. He is particularly popular with younger voters, ages 18-34 – 67 percent said they approved of the work he's doing.
  • Dayton tallied a 57 percent approval rating among women and 50 percent with men.
  • Dayton's strongest support comes from Hennepin and Ramsey counties (66 percent), while it dropped to 42 percent in the other five Twin Cities counties. His approval rating in the rest of the state is 53 percent.
  • 83 percent of Democrats back the governor, while 20 percent of Republicans approve of his work. Independents gave him a 52 percent approval rating, while 59 percent of unregistered voters gave him the thumbs up.

The Star Tribune's findings came from interviews with 625 Minnesotans between March 16-18. The poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc. The results will not vary by more than 4 percentage points, the newspaper notes.

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