Presidential Politics And Election Returns
Last Updated July 14, 2003
Minnesota has the longest consecutive streak of voting Democratic for president of any state: the last time it voted Republican was in 1972, and even then it gave Richard Nixon his lowest percentage margin over George McGovern. But in 2000 Minnesota was seriously contested, and in the end gave Al Gore only a 48%-46% victory over George W. Bush. It was a vivid contrast to 1988, when Bush's father lost the state to Michael Dukakis by 53%-46%. What changed in the meantime? Ross Perot and Jesse Ventura evidently detached many voters from their ancestral allegiance. Perot won 24% of the vote here in 1992 and 12% in 1996, more in each case than in any other state this large. And in the Ventura Belt counties around the Twin Cities, Bush beat Gore by 50%-44% in an area where his father had only run even. In addition, in the rural west and north, George W. Bush led by wider margins (or trailed by less) than his father had; he carried five of the state's eight congressional districts. In farm country and the north woods he carried many counties that had long voted DFL. If the major metro movement toward Democrats in the 1990s so visible on the East and West Coasts was less visible in Minnesota, the countervailing rural movement toward Republicans was even more prominent. The result is that Minnesota must be counted as competitive in the next close presidential race.
Minnesota has a tradition of selecting national convention delegates in caucuses. But caucus turnout has been low: In the 1998 DFL caucuses, an average of 4.4 voters showed up in each precinct, and in one-fourth of the precincts, no one showed up at all. DFL leaders, reeling from their party's third-place finish in 1998, tried to attract more voters to the March 2000 presidential precinct caucuses by moving them from Tuesday night to Saturday and by holding a presidential preference vote, with national convention delegates assigned proportionately. It made little difference: By the time Minnesotans caucused, the nomination was already clinched.
|2000 Presidential Vote|
|1996 Presidential Vote|
For 1992 and 1996 presidential results in Minnesota, please see the Almanac 2000 online.
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