The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

This State Owes the Rest of the Country for Ventura and Franken


One of the few states where I didn’t see a good, competitive, interesting House race on my list of 99 was Minnesota. The incumbents all look pretty solid, and most of the challengers are extraordinarily short on cash. (Example: Democratic Rep. Tim Walz’s cash-on-hand: about $595,000. GOP challenger Allen Quist’s: about $18,000.)

But perhaps something will shake out:

Six months before Election Day, Minnesota’s Republicans appear to be gaining strength.

A new poll shows that in this onetime Democratic stronghold, the parties are at near parity.

The SurveyUSA poll, commissioned by KSTP-TV, found that 36 percent of likely voters identify themselves as Republicans, while 35 percent say they’re Democrats. Twenty-four percent call themselves independents.

Given the poll’s 4.1 percent margin of sampling error, that’s a statistical tossup between Republicans and Democrats.

By means of comparison, a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll conducted a year ago found that 37 percent of Minnesotans called themselves independents, 36 percent said they were Democrats and 20 percent identified themselves as Republicans.

The poll found the biggest impact on the gubernatorial race:

The SurveyUSA poll also found that Republican gubernatorial endorsee Tom Emmer is ahead of his three DFL rivals, although the significance of the results is hard to gauge this early in the campaign. In matchup against Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Mark Dayton and Matt Entenza, Emmer was supported by 41 percent of likely voters. The DFLers were each backed by about one-third, while Independence Party candidate Tom Horner was supported by about 10 percent.

If Tim Pawlenty has any aspirations for the presidency, he probably doesn’t want a Democrat taking the reins after him. He can ask Mitt Romney what it’s like to have a Democratic successor manage your signature domestic policy proposal.

Tags: Minnesota


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