Gov. Mark Dayton enters his final legislative session with relatively strong personal popularity, according to a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll.
Of 800 Minnesotans surveyed, 43 percent hold a favorable view of the second-term DFL governor, who has announced he is not running for another term. Only 25 percent hold an unfavorable view of Dayton, while 28 percent said they are neutral.
Minnesotans have a more favorable view of Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, but Dayton is more popular than President Donald Trump, according to the poll.
Dayton appeared to be entering a relatively uneventful final year in office until late last year, when former Sen. Al Franken resigned. Dayton appointed his then-Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to replace him. That resulted in Sen. Michelle Fischbach, the Republican president of the state Senate, becoming Dayton's new lieutenant governor.
The massive overhaul of the federal tax system signed into law late last year has also upped Dayton's relevance. When the Legislature convenes for its annual session Feb. 20, Dayton and lawmakers must work on a plan to make changes to the state tax system. Without a fix, Minnesotans' taxes could go up substantially or become exceedingly complex.
Earlier this week, Dayton offered up a plan to borrow $1.5 billion for infrastructure projects.
J. Patrick Coolican