Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Minnesota Rumblings; Weiner Under Fire

In House, Mayor, Polling on July 26, 2013 at 10:26 am

Several developments are unfolding in budding Minnesota congressional races. A new Democratic poll in the state’s 2nd District shows House Education and Workforce Committee chairman John Kline dropping under 50 percent to the man he summarily defeated in 2012, while a serious Democratic challenger is potentially surfacing against Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN-3) in the adjoining district.

Victoria Research (July 17-21; 400 registered MN-2 voters), polling for the liberal House Majority PAC, tested former state Rep. Mike Obermueller against incumbent Kline and found the congressman to be leading 45-32 percent. But, the poll appears slanted.

Repeatedly the questionnaire stresses “compromise” in law making and clearly attempts to paint Kline as one not inclined to bend. For example, Obermueller was cast as a person who is “working together with others to achieve common goals.” The inference is that Kline is not. After characterizing Obermueller in this manner, another ballot test was then asked and, unsurprisingly, the Democrat forges into the lead 44-38 percent. Such a push question skews the poll’s overall results.

In any event, however, Kline did not receive a particularly favorable draw in redistricting and his Minneapolis suburban district is marginal in nature. President Obama carried the seat over Republican nominee Mitt Romney, but by only the smallest of spreads, just 0.1 percent of the vote. In the last congressional election, Rep. Kline defeated Obermueller 54-46 percent, a margin of some 29,000-plus votes.

Next door, former news anchorman Don Shelby (D) is confirming that he is considering launching a challenge to three-term incumbent Paulsen.

The 3rd CD, which encompasses the western Minneapolis suburbs of Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Plymouth, and Brooklyn Park, is also a marginal district but trends a bit more Republican though President Obama topped Romney by one point and almost four in 2008.

Paulsen, a former seven-term state Representative and legislative leader, originally won the district in 2008 with a 48-41 percent victory. He has since been re-elected with margins of 59-36 percent and 58-42 percent in 2010 and ’12, respectively. Neither of his re-election opponents, however, spent more than $530,000 against him.

It remains to be seen if either Democratic challenge develops in these Twin Cities’ suburban districts, but the voting patterns will yield competitive campaigns under the right circumstances. It is difficult to see, however, the climate becoming ripe for Democrats under a mid-term turnout model as we will experience in 2014.

NYC Mayor Poll

NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist College just ran a quick one day (July 24) poll of 940 New York City registered voters with 551 Democratic primary pledged participants to test the fall out from the latest Anthony Weiner embarrassing “sexting” episode.

According to the data, there has been a net 14-point swing away from Weiner to City Council President Christine Quinn (D). In the previous Marist poll, Weiner held a 25-20 percent lead over Quinn. Now, the disgraced former congressman trails her 25-16 percent. In the latter poll, NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (D) and former city comptroller Bill Thompson (D) are tied for third position with 14 percent apiece.

The primary election is Sept. 10. If no candidate receives at least 40 percent of the primary vote, a run-off will be held between the top two finishers prior to the Nov. 5 general election. At this point, Weiner refuses to withdraw from the race despite many calls from members of his own party and editorials from liberal publications such as the New York Times.

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