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Ventura's Popularity Rebounds
by Mark Zdechlik
March 6, 2000
Click for audio RealAudio 3.0 | Poll

A Minnesota Public Radio - St. Paul Pioneer Press poll finds a majority of registered Minnesota voters think Governor Jesse Ventura is doing a "good" or "excellent" job. Ventura's popularity is rebounding since his controversial comments to Playboy magazine last fall. His advisors say voters are pleased with the governor's concentration on government business.

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ACCORDING TO THE SURVEY, nine percent of Minnesota voters rate the governor's job performance as excellent and 43 percent think he's doing a good job. Twenty-eight percent of the 641 respondents said Jesse Ventura is doing a fair job as governor and 18 percent think he's doing poorly. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

It's an across-the-board improvement from the last Minnesota Public Radio - St. Paul Pioneer Press Poll in which Ventura logged his lowest ever rating. That October survey followed Ventura's Playboy interview, which featured controversial statements about religion and other topics.

The poll also found that 54 percent of Minnesotans think Governor Ventura is a needed breath of fresh air in state government.

Governor Ventura had no comment on his showing in the latest poll. His spokesman, John Wodele, says the Minnesota Public Radio - St. Paul Pioneer Press poll results are similar to other polls which show an improved trend since last fall and more over, impressive average numbers since the Ventura was elected.

"He is more engaged with the Legislature than he was at this time last year and part of that is because the agenda he is facing more challenges that it was before." "

- Steven Schier
Carlton College
"If you take the different polls that are taken and you look over the past 14 months, the trend is he's going to be very consistently in the 60-percent area of job approval," Wodele noted, calling the trend "remarkable."

Ventura has said recently he's working to concentrate on policy. Wodele attributes the governor's return to favorability to Ventura's concentration on state business. "The thing that helps popularity most and gives him a good job-approval rating is the fact that he is very focused on his job," Wodele said.

Carlton College political science department chair Steven Schier says Ventura is benefiting in the polls because he's acting more gubernatorial. "The absence of mistakes always helps a politicians," he said. "You can't get in trouble for what you don't do and what you don't say."

Schier says had the poll been taken after Ventura's latest trip to Washington - during which he talked a lot of about free trade and tax policy - the numbers would likely have come in as good or better. It seems as long as the relatively moderate governor stays out of trouble and uses his popularity to address issues important to Minnesotans, Minnesotans will view him favorably.