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Ventura's First 100 Days Poll
By Mike Mulcahy
April 13, 1999
Part of The First 100 Days Series.
Analysis | Poll Results | Poll Methodology | Story


Governor Jesse Ventura gets a favorable job- performance rating from Minnesota voters in the first months of his term. Statewide, 57% rate Ventura's performance as "excellent" or "good", while 24% rate it as "only fair", and just 2% rate it "poor" so far. A significant 17%, however, are still unable to rate the newly-elected governor.

A majority of Minnesota voters find Ventura's style "appealing" (65%), consider him "a breath of fresh air" (54%), and feel his ability to speak plainly on the issues will improve government in the state (62%).

State voters also agree with Ventura's emphasis on individuals taking more personal responsibility and relying less on government to solve problems (59%). This view also holds true of single parents (61%).

while voters appear inclined to give Ventura the benefit of the doubt during the current "honeymoon" period, they do seem to understand the potential for meltdown. Only 2% currently feel Ventura is "an embarrassment" to the state, but 41% said it was still too soon to judge.


QUESTION : How would you rate the performance of Jesse Ventura as governor?

Option State Men Women
Excellent 12% 13% 11%
Good 45% 43% 47%
Fair 24% 27% 21%
Poor 2% 2% 2%
Undecided 17% 15% 19%

QUESTION: Which of the following statements comes closest to your point of view?

  • Governor Ventura is a needed breath of fresh air in state government.
  • Governor Ventura is an embarrassment to the state.
  • It is too soon to judge.
Option State Men Women
Fresh Air 54% 56% 52%
Embarrassment 5% 4% 6%
Too soon to judge 41% 40% 42%

QUESTION : More specifically, which of these statements comes closest to your point of view? (order rotated)

  • Governor Ventura knows what matters most to people in Minnesota and his ability to speak plainly on these issues will improve government in Minnesota.
  • Governor Ventura has an engaging personality that is fun to watch, but I don't really think he knows enough to govern well.
  • Governor Ventura is not well-prepared to govern, and his outspoken public comments often serve to make matters worse.
Option State Men Women
Will improve 62% 65% 59%
Engaging 23% 25% 21%
Will make worse 9% 7% 11%
Not sure 6% 3% 9%

QUESTION : Governor Ventura has become known for his blunt speaking style. In general, do you find this characteristic appealing or unappealing?

Option State Men Women
Appealing 65% 69% 61%
Unappealing 21% 22% 20%
Not sure 14% 9% 19%

QUESTION : Do you think the media have been: (order rotated)

  • Too harsh on Governor Ventura.
  • Treating Governor Ventura fairly.
  • Not critical enough of Governor Ventura?
Option State Men Women
Too Harsh 28% 26% 30%
Fairly 58% 63% 53%
Not critical enough 7% 9% 5%
Not sure 7% 2% 12%

QUESTION : Which of these statements comes closest to your point of view about personal watercraft, often known as Jet-Skis: (order rotated)

  • They are a legitimate form of recreation and should not be regulated any more than any other kind of boat on Minnesota lakes.
  • They are an annoyance on many Minnesota lakes, and their use should be restricted.
Option State Men Women
Legitimate 29% 30% 28%
Annoyance 64% 67% 61%
Not sure 7% 3% 11%

QUESTION : Which of the following statements comes closest to your point of view?

  • Minnesota's financial-aid system for students going to college is adequate and does not need to be expanded.
  • Minnesota should make more financial help available to allow more low-income students to attend college.
Option State Men Women
Adequate 41% 47% 35%
More available 50% 50% 50%
Not sure 9% 3% 15%

QUESTION : Which of the following statements comes closest to your point of view: (order rotated)

  • In general, single parents should take more responsibility for their situations and not look to the government for help.
  • Government needs to help the less fortunate in society by expanding the aid it gives to single parents.
Option State Men Women
More responsibility 61% 68% 54%
Expand govt. aid 25% 21% 29%
Not sure 14% 11% 17%

QUESTION : Minnesota spends about $95 million a year to help low- and middle-income families pay child-care costs. Which of the following statements comes closest to your point of view: (order rotated)

  • The state should continue to help families with child-care costs, but not spend additional money.
  • The state spends too much for child-care costs.
  • The state should spend more money to provide child-case aid to working families
Option State Men Women
Continue 62% 66% 58%
Spends too much 11% 13% 9%
Spend more 18% 15% 21%
Not sure 9% 6% 12%

QUESTION : Governor Ventura has emphasized his belief that individuals should take responsibility for their own lives and not look to government to solve their problems. In general, which of the following statements comes closest to your point of view: (order rotated)

  • I agree with the governor, people look for government help too often.
  • I think the governor's view is too simplified; one of the government's functions is to help people.
Option State Men Women
Agree with governor 59% 59% 59%
View too simplified 36% 37% 35%
Not sure 5% 4% 6%

The Mason-Dixon Poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Political/Media Research, Inc. of Washington, DC from April 7, 1999 through April 9, 1999. A total of 628 registered Minnesota voters were interviewed statewide by telephone. All stated they regularly vote in state elections.

Those interviewed were selected by the random variation of the last four digits of telephone numbers. A cross-section of exchanges was utilized in order to ensure an accurate reflection of the state. Quotas were assigned to reflect the voter registration distribution by county.

The margin for error, according to standards customarily used by statisticians, is no more than plus-or-minus 4 percentage points. This means that there is a 95 percent probability that the "true" figure would fall within that range if the entire population were sampled. The margin for error is higher for any subgroup, such as a gender grouping.
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Poll Copyright 1999, Mason-Dixon Political/Media Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved