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Our View: Will Minn. sing blues over not being blue?

The results, no doubt, would tilt a bit left up north here, but the commonly held notion that Minnesota as a whole is a dark-blue, loyally liberal state apparently has faded -- to gray.

The results, no doubt, would tilt a bit left up north here, but the commonly held notion that Minnesota as a whole is a dark-blue, loyally liberal state apparently has faded - to gray.
That was the color assigned to the Gopher State this week by Gallup, the national pollsters who in 2014 measured political party identification by state and who released their results this week. With 24.4 percent of Minnesotans identifying themselves as “liberal,” 34.7 percent as “conservative” and 36 percent as “moderate,” the state wasn’t tagged “solid Democratic” or even Democratic-leaning. But neither was it deemed “solid Republican” or Republican-leaning.
So not red or blue.
Rather, according to Gallup, Minnesota is politically “competitive,” one of 18 states tagged that gray way, including Wisconsin. For the record, 15 states were colored a shade of Republican red while 17 states received a tint of Democratic blue.
“Even though a Democratic candidate has won the state in presidential races going back for 40 years, (Minnesota did) not even crack the top 10 most Democratic states,” St. Paul Pioneer Press political reporter Rachel E. Stassen-Berger observed with a slight inaccuracy: Minnesota didn’t crack Gallup’s top 11, taking into consideration that there was a tie for 10th.
So are such poll results surprising or telling? Are they both?
For two years, Democrats controlled the Minnesota House, Senate and governor’s office before Republicans wrestled away the House last fall. In addition, while both of Minnesota’s U.S. senators are Democrats, the state’s U.S. representatives are a mixed bag of five Democrats and three Republicans.
Was Republican Chip Cravaack’s ouster of longtime Democratic incumbent Jim Oberstar in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District in 2010 a sign of a political shift in Minnesota? Or was Democrat Rick Nolan’s defeat of Cravaack just two years later the more telling moment?
Polls can be both fun and informative. Will this one have Minnesotans singing the blues because the state isn’t considered blue or seeing red because we aren’t red, either?
Or, perhaps, we’ll fall again somewhere in the gray in-between.

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