October 2006

Klobuchar 55, Kennedy 33, Fitzgerald 3

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

Following up on yesterday’s snapshot of the race for governor, the Humphrey Institute’s Center for the Study of Politics and Governance released its poll on the Minnesota Senate race. It shows DFLer Amy Klobuchar with a 55-33 lead over Republican Mark Kennedy.

The perfect storm seems to have gathered at Klobuchar’s, and those same winds are blowing straight into Kennedy face. Klobuchar is doing better among Democrts than Kennedy is doing among Republicans. She is clobbering him by a staggering 54-19 percent among self-described independents. And meanwhile, the portion of Minnesotans describing themselves as Democrats or DFL leaners (48 percent) is at its highest point in years (compared with 37 percent Republicans and 13 percent independents. Klobuchar is even gaining at the expense of Independence-ite Robert Fitzgerald, who has dropped from seven percent to three since Humphrey’s previous poll in mid-Octobber.

Here’s the full writeup and analysis by CSPG chieftain Larry Jacobs.

The full writeup of the Guv race poll released Monday night is available online now.

Does Michele Bachmann want the U.S. out of the U.N.?

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

Many conservatives are leery of U.N. influence, especially over the U.S.

State Sen. Michele Bachmann goes a bit further. Her commitment to keeping the U.S. among the member states is on a “that remains to be seen” basis.

At the bottom of this post, I’ll link to the audio of the August interview in which she made that comment. And I apologize both to Bachmann and to those who might want to know her views of the U.N. for delaying so long in posting this. I always intended to write about a number of Bachmann and Wetterling issue positions, and I have a summary piece about those ready to be published shortly. But this one got left on the shelf too long.

When I first interviewed Bachmann in Feburary, (before I had gotten quite so used to recording all such interviews, bear in mind, I hail from the 20th century), I recalled her saying that she wouldn’t shed a tear if the U.N. left for New York for Geneva, and also sounding that she wasn’t all that committed to the U.S. remaining in the organization. So in August, I asked her to clarify.

First of all, she said jokingly, it was Brussels, not Geneva. On the more important question of U.S. membership, I asked if I had heard her right about being less than fully committed to continued U.S. membership.

She said the U.N. has had a “sorry” history from the beginning. She said U.N. peacekeepers had “brought a lot of destruction” in some African countries.

I returned several times to the question of whether she was committed to supporting U.S. membership. She returned each time to another objection she had to the U.N., such as the inclusion of Libya and Cuba on the Human Rights Commission, the lack of “accountability,” that the U.S. supplies the biggest share of the U.N. budget while the members states still feel free to “kick the United States in the shins” when the U.S. needed U.N. backing.

On the fourth and last time that I asked her whether, if her objections were not addressed to her satisfaction, she would have any reservations about the U.S. remaining in the organization, she replied:

“I think that remains to be seen.”

Here’s the audio of that portion of the interview.

St. Cloud State poll has Hatch by 10 and Klobuchar by 25

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

If fresh poll results are truly the equivalent of crack cocaine for political junkies, prepare to overdose.

Here comes the one big annual running of the St. Cloud State Survey, by political scientist Steve Frank and at 10 p.m. I should be able to post the Senate race results from the Humphrey Institute survey.

St. Cloud State poll

Based on 583 Minnesota respondents and 499 likely voters interviewed Oct. 15-26, with a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points, SCSU poll says that:

In the race for governor:
Among Likely Voters:
Hatch: 46.
Pawlenty: 36.
Hutchinson: 6.
Pentel: 1.
Other: 3.
Don’t Know: 7.

Among all respondents:
Hatch: 43.
Pawlenty: 37.
Hutchinson: 6.
Pentel: 1.
Other: 3.
Don’t Know: 7

In the Senate Race:

Among Likely Voters:
Klobuchar: 56.
Kennedy: 31.
Fitzgerald: 3.
Cavlan: 2.
Other: 2.
Don’t Know: 5.

Among all respondents:
Klobuchar: 52.
Kennedy: 32.
Fitzgerald: 3
Cavlan: 2.
Other: 3.
Don’t Know: 6.

Bachmann 48, Wetterling 47 and more for horserace fans

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

In case you missed it in last night’s discussion thread, alert reader Steve B. mentioned a couple of horserace items of interest. (Thanks Steve.)

Constituent Dynamics, which uses robo-dialing, has updated their snapshot of the Bachmann-Wetterling race. Based on interviews Oct. 24-26, with a margin for error of plus/minus three percent, they show it:

Republican Michele Bachmann: 48.
Democrat Patty Wetterling: 47.

That’s an improvement for Bachmann over the previous Constituent Dynamics poll, in early October, that showed it Wetterling 49; Bachmann 45.

Constituent Dynamics also showed the race in the Minnesota First District this way:

Republican Gil Gutknecht: 50
Democrat Tim Walz: 47.

That’s a slight improvement for Gutknecht over the early October poll, which showed it 48-47 for Gutknecht.

All of the Constituent Dynamics polls are viewable here.

Meanwhile, the Cook Political Report has upgraded Walz’s chances in their latest ranking of the competitiveness of House races (dated Oct. 30).

Cook has moved the race to the toss-up category from “leans Republicans.”

Cook’s overall national rankings look bleaker than ever for Republicans:

“THERE IS NO EBB IN THE WAVE: With the election just eight days away, there are no signs that this wave is abating. Barring a dramatic event, we are looking at the prospect of GOP losses in the House of at least 20 to 35 seats, possibly more, and at least four in the Senate, with five or six most likely.”

If you’re keeping score at home (as the sportscasters say) the Dem’s need a net gain of 15 in the House to take control. In the Senate, the Dems need six. If they get five, the body would be 50-50 with Vice President Cheney holding the tie-breaking vote when necessary.

Lastly (and yes, Steve B. brought all of this to my attention) a new Zogby internet poll for the Wall Street Journal has the Minnesota Guv’s race as:

Democrat Mike Hatch: 46.1
Republican Tim Pawlenty: 44.7,

and it has the Minnesota Senate race as:

Democrat Amy Klobuchar 50.5.
Republican Mark Kennedy: 42.8.

As far as I can tell, none of the polls mentioned in this post included the Independence Party candidates.

Hatch 45; Pawlenty 39; Hutchinson 9

Monday, October 30th, 2006

The Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, which is part of the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute, has a new poll out on the Guv race, and it’s full of bad news for Republican incumbent Tim Pawlenty.

The Humphrey poll finds DFL Attorney General Mike Hatch leading by 45-39 percent, with Independence-ite Peter Hutchinson at nine percent and seven percent undecided.

The survey of 663 likely voters was conducted October 23-28, and has a 3.8 margin of error.

The full writeup, which should be on the CSPG’s website tomorrow, finds that Hatch has gained ground since September, fewer voters identify themselves as Republicans, fewer approve of Pawlenty’s performance, fewer think the state is on the right track. Even on personal characteristics, which was supposed to be where the likeable Pawlenty would shine, respondents prefer Hatch.

Here’s another version of the poll story, by my esteemed collegue Conrad Defiebre.

New poll numbers on the Guv race embargoed until 10 p.m.

Monday, October 30th, 2006

Please check back then. I’ll try to drag myself away from the Vikings game long enough to disembargo it.

Voting with a Mouse

Monday, October 30th, 2006

Pardon the self-promotion. I’ll be moderating and briefly speaking at an panel discussion at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute this (Monday) noon, titled “Voting with a Mouse: How Bloggers Altered the Political Landscape.” It’s free and open to the public and starts at noon. It’s supposed to be done by 1:30.

The keynoter is David Carr of the New York Times (and, for those didn’t know him back then, formerly of the Twin Cities Reader). Republican blogger Michael Brodkorb of Minnesota Democrats Exposed and Democratic blogger Joe Bodell of MN Campaign Report are the other panelists.

Other than moderatorly telling the others when their time is up, here’s what I plan to say in my five minutes:

The blogosphere is wonderful. Breaking the monopoly of professional journalists on the eyeballs of the news-consuming public does much more good than harm. And for me personally, blogging has provided a welcome liberation from some of the constraints of writing for the paper that had been driving me increasingly cranky over the last 10 or more years of my ink-stained wretchedness.

But I am increasingly concerned about the lack of fairness, open-mindedness and intellectual honesty in most of the blogosphere.

Minnesota Democrats Exposed and MN Campaign Report bring information into public view that might otherwise not get there. That’s good.

Michael and Joe are both open about their opposing biases, which gives them an advantage over a so-called objective newspaper reporter who is sometimes so worried about being accused of bias that he says nothing and fills up his allotted space with offsetting half-truths of the he-said she-said variety.

But I’m worried about readers who rely too heavily on sources that make little effort to see past their bias.

I’m worried about a form of bias that’s much bigger and more dangerous than either left or right bias. It’s confirmation bias, which is a bias in favor of facts and arguments that confirm what you already believe.

It’s generally coupled with an unwillingness to credit or even acknowledge the existence of facts that contradict what you want to continue believing.

So as we move forward into the post-newspaper age, I’m looking for something that combines the advantages of the blogosphere with the advantages of the journalistic method, specifically those norms of journalism that encourage reporters to see and think and write in ways that get past the bias of the writer.

And I’m looking for readers who are looking for that same thing. And I’m wanting to believe there are enough of them out there to make a difference and maybe even break the grip of the polarization that is such an impediment to our current political discourse.

What think of the Friday night 6th District debate?

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

Here’s my lame coverage of last night’s League of Women Voters Bachmann-Wetterling-Binkowski debate.

What did you think of the debate?

New Rasmussen numbers on Senate and Guv rces

Friday, October 27th, 2006

The Rasmussen organization, which uses the robo-dialing technology, has fresh poll numbers on the Minnesota Senate and governor’s race.

Both polls were completed Wednesday and are based on interviews with 500 likely voters . I don’t have the margin for error at the moment nor am I sure whether the Independence Party candidates were included in the questionnaires. Rasmussen’s snapshots were as follows:

For Governor:
DFLer Mike Hatch: 45 percent.
Republican Tim Pawlenty: 44 percent.

For Senate:
DFLer Amy Klobuchar: 53 percent.
Republican Mark Kennedy: 39 percent.

Bachmann 49, Wetterling 43, Binkowski 5

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

Survey USA, which uses the robo-dialing methodology, did a new poll on the 6th District race for KSTP-TV.

With interviews conducted Sunday through Tuesday, a sample of 738 likely voters and a margin for error of plus or minus 3.7 percent, they found the race

Republican Michele Bachmann 49 percent
Democrat Patty Wetterling 43 percent
Independenceite John Binkowski 5 percent
Undecided 3 percent.

Among other breakdowns available on the SurveyUSA site, the poll found the north metro district to be comprised, at present, of 41 percent Republicans, 33 percent Democrats and 19 percent independents.

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