Gov. Mark Dayton is facing a Minnesota electorate that is split on how well he is doing his job.
According to a new Public Policy Polling poll, completed just before the legislative session concluded on Monday, 49 percent of Minnesotans give him high approval rating and 47 percent give him failing marks. Those numbers are significantly down from January, when 53 percent of Minnesotans approved of the job he was doing and 39 percent did not.
Despite Minnesotans mixed feelings about the governor, they still favor him over potential Republican challengers. He has double digit leads in head to head match ups against 2010 opponent Tom Emmer and Republican candidates Scott Honour and Jeff Johnson. He has similar leads over Republicans Julie Rosen, David Hann, Dave Thompson and Kurt Zellers, all of whom have said they are considering a run.
Democrats can find other good news in the poll.
It found that both DFL and GOP legislators are more unpopular than popular but Republicans are even less popular than Democrats. According to the poll, 36 percent of Minnesotans approve of DFL lawmakers and 23 percent approve of Republicans. The DFL also has a narrow lead on a generic legislative ballot.
The poll also found that Minnesotans continue to be split on same sex marriage with 49 percent supporting and 45 percent opposing. The Legislature and Dayton legalized same sex marriage this year.
On other legislative issues:
- Half of Minnesotans oppose to letting in home child care workers unionize. The Legislature approved allowing the voters to hold a unionization vote this week.
- 54 percent support raising the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour. The House supported raising it to $9.50 this year and the Senate approved raising it to $7.75. The two sides did not reach an agreement and ended up doing nothing this year.
- While 50 percent of Minnesotans support repaying the school shift, they were split on whether the state should raise taxes to do it. The Minnesota House approved a plan to raise taxes to pay back the shift but dropped the idea in the final deal.
- 53 percent opposed using an increase in the cigarette tax to fund the new Vikings stadium. Lawmakers agreed to a Dayton plan to do just that.
- And Minnesotans overwhelmingly supported allowing Sunday liquor sales. Lawmakers turned back proposals to legalize booze sales on Sunday.
The poll included 38 percent Democrats; 27 percent Republicans and 35 percent independents but more people in the poll -- 38 percent -- described themselves as conservative than liberal -- 32 percent.
The poll had a margin of sampling error of 3.7 percent.