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Poll indicates Dayton's approval rating is up

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A newspaper's poll published Wednesday shows strong support for Gov. Mark Dayton with more than half of Minnesotans surveyed happy with his performance.

The Star Tribune's Minnesota Poll shows 57 percent of adults surveyed think Dayton is doing a good job — his highest approval rating since he took office.

The support follows a legislative session in which Dayton signed sweeping changes into law, including a $2 billion dollar tax increase, legalizing same-sex marriage and funding all-day kindergarten across Minnesota.

Dayton's approval rating had previously bottomed out at 45 percent in February.

"This is nothing to coast on," he said. "I've been doing this long enough that I know that polls go up and polls go down."

The phone poll surveyed 800 people June 11-13 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The sample included 36 percent self-identified Democrats, 30 percent Republicans and 29 percent independents.

Dayton said the results were validation for the budget approach he and lawmakers took, which included $2.1 billion in new taxes.

"It shows that people understand that we did what we had to do to restore fiscal balance to the state and we're on the right track," he said.

The climb in his approval rating was led by a turnaround in the opinions of independent voters, with 51 percent giving him the thumbs up. There was also an increase in approval among Republicans.

Republican Laura Brod, a former state representative now involved in the right-leaning Minnesota Action Network, said Dayton's high job approval number probably won't last.

"The approval ratings right now are probably based on 'Well, the session got done.' But, boy, when a lot of those bills that got signed into law go into effect and people start feeling the real impact of them, I think the numbers will change dramatically," said Brod, a senior vice president at a public affairs group.

Poll respondent Jay Beyer-Kropuenske of St. Paul, a self-described independent, said he appreciates Dayton's work on the state budget.

"Nobody likes to pay more taxes, but if you want to keep a level a service and quality of life" it has to happen, said Beyer-Kropuenske.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.