New poll shows high levels of support for Dayton budget proposal

Public Policy Polling released results this morning of new polling on Minnesota state political issues.  Let’s look at the key questions:

  • 63% of Minnesotans favor Governor Mark Dayton’s balanced approach to the state budget, while only 32% favor the all-cuts GOP approach.
  • Dayton enjoys a 51% approval rating, and voters would give him a 12-point win over Tom Emmer were the 2010 election held again today.  Independents give Dayton a 48% approval rating versus 39% who disapprove.
  • The GOP legislative majority has a 29% approval rating
  • The DFL leads the generic 2012 legislative ballot 49-40
  • The gay marriage constitutional amendment is very close at the moment, with 46% in favor of the amendment versus 47% opposed, but 72% of voters favor some form of legal recognition (marriage or civil unions)

12 Responses to “New poll shows high levels of support for Dayton budget proposal”

  1. Sean, can you please provide your reader with a link to “Governor Mark Dayton’s balanced approach to the state budget” I am having trouble locating it.

    The truth is Gov. Dayton’s budget still can’t find a DFL legislator to sponsor it.

    There is no “Dayton budget proposal” to have a “balanced approach”, so what this poll actually shows is 63% of Minnesotans surveyed didn’t pay any attention to the question – much like yourself. Facts are stubborn things.

    Dayton’s “balanced approach” is $1.8 billion in new taxes on “the rich”, and no explanation of what to spend it on. We still have yet to hear how Gov. Dayton’s tax will improve Minnesota’s economy or help the people of Minnesota in any way. Free advice – he might have an easier time selling it if we knew what it was for.

    • Gov. Dayton provided specific spending targets by department for his first and second budget proposals. Here’s a link to a blog post that shows House and Senate GOP docs comparing Dayton’s targets with GOP targets:

      In regards to the Governor’s most recent proposal, he did not specify which departments those additional cuts would come from, instead offering to negotiate those with GOP legislative leaders.

      Gov. Dayton’s tax proposal was voted down in the House on a party-line vote on May 17, 2011. There is no shortage of DFL support for the Governor’s current proposal.

      By the way — we’re still waiting to hear how the GOP proposal does anything for Minnesota’s economy. The GOP budget will kill thousands of jobs, kick thousands off of health care, reduce college opportunities for our children, and do nothing to address the ongoing funding crisis in transportation. Our economy isn’t struggling because the wealthy are taxed too much — in fact, taxes for the wealthy are at or near historical lows and have been since the tax cuts passed in the Ventura Administration. It should be clear by now that tax policy isn’t the magic bullet to making the economy work. If it were, the five rounds of federal tax cuts over the last decade in addition to the current status of wealthy taxpayers at the state and local level would have everything rolling by now.

      Our economy is struggling because we have failed to invest in the things that have made us great — high quality K-12 and higher education, top-notch infrastructure, a safety net that protects the most vulnerable. The GOP budget sends Minnesota on a race to the bottom when we should be trying to stay at the top.

      • Thanks, but I still can’t find “Governor Mark Dayton’s balanced approach to the state budget” to which the poll refers anywhere. A link to another biased blog site is appreciated, but I prefer to look at the actual proposal – the facts.

        He is the Governor – don’t you think it should be easy to find his budget proposal with a simple Google search?

        The Legislative budget (all nine bills) in all its detail is public record, worked through committees, was subject to public debate and scrutiny, and was passed by both chambers – all of our Legislators voted on it. The Governor vetoed it.

        This debate would be a lot more interesting if I had something more to work with than “Don’t tax me, Bro!” I would certainly welcome the chance to pick apart the facts of a Dayton budget over 5 months, but sadly such a budget does not exist. Which makes the polling question – the subject of this blog entry – pretty suspect as well.

        All alarmist rhetoric, class warfare, blogger opinions, and party talking points aside, the simple truth is Governor Dayton does not have a budget plan, and only 29 days to come up with one before the State shuts down.

        By the way, thank you for the measured response to my question. I appreciate people that I can disagree with agreeably.

      • “Our economy is struggling because we have failed to invest in the things that have made us great — high quality K-12 and higher education, top-notch infrastructure, a safety net that protects the most vulnerable.”

        Fiery words but they ring hollow. A safety net doesn’t really add to the economic output of the state meaningfully. One can debate moral justification for such programs, but the economics are rather clear. Infrastructure should be paid for by those who actually use it. If Dayton was sincere about improving infrastructure, then increase the gas tax and or vehicle licensing fees. At least then people can see what their money is buying and decide for themselves if it’s worthwhile.

        Now let’s talk a bit about K-12 education. The Minneapolis school district has 33000 pupils and is budgeting to spend $670million. That’s $20k/student and you are seriously arguing that we need even more spending? A classroom of 20 kids –I had 30 growing up and managed to make it all the way through a PhD– brings in $400k. Let’s pay the teacher $100k + $100k in benefits. That still leaves $200k for capital and overhead. That’s not enough? Seriously? I pay starting engineers with PhD’s less than that. To add insult to injury that $400k/classroom buys approximately a 50% graduation rate.

        We spend a larger fraction of our GDP (5.7%) on education in this country than many of our European counterparts (Germany, UK, France, Italy) and we have little to show for it. Starting teacher salaries may be low at but only 4 other countries best ours and only three of them meaningfully (Switzerland, Germany, and Denmark) and they have longer school calendars. Our advanced science and math rankings are at the bottom of the industrialized world and our literacy is middle of the pack in spite of all of that spending.

        No, the answer is clear. Our education problems are not monetary. Our education problems stem from a lack of valuing education and a lack of expecting achievement. Stop pulling the heart strings and recognize that parents have responsibilities to ensure their kids are educated that go beyond just paying –if they actually do pay– their property taxes. We don’t need more special programs. We don’t need more technology. We need less social promotion and more expectation.

        • I’ll grant you it’s difficult to quantify a link between safety net programs and economic results. I think, though, that the somewhat more robust safety net that we have in Minnesota is in part responsible for the lower levels of persisten poverty that we see here versus many other states. It’s easier for people to move forward and advance themselves because we provide that support. (If we look across the world, we see that holds true. Countries with more robust safety nets tend to show higher levels of income mobility.)

          As far as the schools go, I’ll completely agree with you that there are substantial non-financial reforms that are required. We can’t ignore the financial part of the equation, though, and we certainly can’t make substantial changes to school funding without having plans in place to address the problems that are still out there. You bring up the Minneapolis schools. The GOP budget makes substantial cuts to their funding. I would agree that many programs funded by those dollars have not produced the desired results. But cutting the funding alone doesn’t solve the problem. You can’t just cut the rope and tell them “you figure it out”. Abandoning the core cities of metro area isn’t a strategy for success — just look at Detroit. Minneapolis and St. Paul schools face problems not faced by most of the other districts in this state. Two-thirds of MPS students are on reduced- or free-lunch programs, that’s 3x the percentage in District 112. MPS has notably higher special education and ESL costs, too.

          Tim Pawlenty once said: “Children who are victims of failed personal responsibility are not my problem, nor are they the problem for our government.” I think it is our reponsibility to give those children a fighting chance at a bright future.

  2. Right Sean, this is the March proposal that he gave to Bakk and Thissen and neither was interested in bringing it to the floor of their respective chamber for public debate and consideration. Nothing has been brought forward since, other than (in my opinion) personal attacks and mudslinging.

    If the Governor wants to avoid a shutdown, he needs to make a case for the extra $1.8 billion in taxing and spending – with specifics, and only then, I think, will the two sides be able to negotiate specifics of a deal.

    THEN a polling question about “Governor Mark Dayton’s balanced approach to the state budget” will be relevant.

    I’d much rather work the spending priorities of the Governor into the existing $34 billion, but until he tells us what they are, I’m afraid all I can personally say is “no” to his tax increase.

    When my kids ask me for money, I always ask what it is for. When my government asks me for money I ask for documentation.

    • The tax portion of Gov. Dayton’s most recent proposal was brought to the floor, debated, and voted on. In terms of the spending proposals, you’re correct that alternative bills were not introduced. Past history on minority-sponsored budget bills is that they frequently die without so much as a hearing in the relevant committees. Reasonable people can disagree on whether or not the kabuki dance of introducing budget bills that are going nowhere is worthwhile. I would argue that since the governor had given detail in his proposals and it was clear that if it was offered as legislation that it stood no chance of passing and little chance of getting a hearing or seeing the floor, that Bakk and Thissen’s decision has had no material impact on the current budget debate.

      In terms of the detail Gov. Dayton has provided on his spending proposals, he’s basically in line with how Gov. Pawlenty handled things. In the last session, Gov. Pawlenty’s last full-fledged proposal at this point in the session was in March, just like Gov. Dayton’s.

      I think Gov. Dayton has been explicitly clear — in the campaign and since taking office –on what his priorities are. To suggest that we don’t know what the Governor is asking for because he hasn’t given us an updated $35.8 billion budget with every penny accounted for seems a little obtuse. There are clear differences in the spending priorities that the governor has outlined — health and human services and education, in particular — versus the GOP budget. Those are obviously what he’s looking to protect with the additional $1.8 billion in revenue.

      The governor has shown a willingess to be flexible and to compromise — by giving up some things that he really wants in order to make a deal. But Republicans aren’t looking for Dayton to compromise, they’re asking him to surrender.

  3. So let me get this straight, because
    ” the governor had given detail in his proposals and it was clear that if it was offered as legislation that it stood no chance of passing and little chance of getting a hearing or seeing the floor, that Bakk and Thissen’s decision has had no material impact on the current budget debate.” No effect? No budget put forward so no effect? I thought a budget was supposed to account for spending. Your comment “because he hasn’t given us an updated $35.8 billion budget with every penny accounted for seems a little obtuse.” I’m sorry but I think if your going to spend that kind of money every penny should be accounted for. But that seems to be the way of politics. Actual “money” you know… “green dollars” has become monopoly money when it comes to spending. Billions?? Really?? When does it end… every legislative session we hear that education needs more money. For crying out loud, it’s not the money thats needed it’s accountability. The educators have made it abundantly clear, there NEVER will be enough money given to them. Dayton has NOT shown a willingness to be flexible or to compromise. Yes he needs to surrender, surrender to excessive needless spending and surrender to living within the confines of a budget.. something he still has not produced.


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    […] New polling released today shows that Minnesotans continue to show broad approval of Gov. Dayton’s budget […]

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    […] When you frame the question to accurately reflect the choice that is out there, you get completely different results. […]

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    […] your support for the Governor’s position is in the minority, those polls are bogus. When multiple polls give you the same result, it becomes harder and harder to claim that the polls are inaccurate. You are blind to the facts. […]

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