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The Minneapolis Star-Tribune (Minnesota's largest newspaper) does a lot of things wrong. But one of the things they do RIGHT is that every two years they commission a reputable polling outfit to conduct what the Star-Tribune calls the "Minnesota Poll." This time they hired Pulse Opinion Research to poll the MN 8th Congressional District, which is anchored by Duluth at the southwest corner of Lake Superior, and stretches west along the Canadian border almost to North Dakota (the so-called "Iron Range', named for the iron mines in the area) and south to the northern ex-urbia/sprawl of the Twin Cities. (See map

The latest news (this morning) is that Democratic challenger Rick Nolan now LEADS incumbent Chip Cravaack (R/Tea Party)  by 50-43. (1000 voters polled; Margin of Error: 3.0%)
Link to full story HERE.

Some further details past the orange frosted breakfast croissant...

   The 8th district has been historically Democratic, with a strong, unionized workforce of miners and their families. It was represented by Jim Oberstar (a Democrat) for over 30 straight years.
      In 2010 Oberstar showed he had gotten rather too comfortable in his seat and the Tea Party tide (coupled with poor turnout among Democratic voters) carried Chip Cravaack (R-Klingon Home World) to an upset victory.
      Cravaack has spent the last 2 years in DC voting for the entire Tea Party agenda. More tellingly he has moved his wife and children to New Hampshire (she apparently got an excellent position with a  Boston firm doing something white collar & lucrative in a binder or two....)
     He also has made it a habit over the last year and more of hiding from his constituents. Oh, he'll announce a "town hall, open meeting" and ask everyone to come. Somehow, the Tea party types always seem to get the word in advance, and are happy to attend, shoot videos, and then send these in to various media outlets. For the rest of the public...not so much. The Cravaack method is on, say, a Tuesday, to announce, "town hall, open meeting" tomorrow (Wednesday) 10:30am at the rest stop picnic shelter at mile post 136 on "the road to International Falls." Like working folks can attend that....on short notice....if they can find out WHICH road to International Falls. (BTW, the International Falls "Icebox of the Nation" Town motto is "I-Falls: 10 months of winter, and 2 months of bad sledding.")
       The Democrats were stunned at Cravaack's victory and it shook them out of their complacency. They had a hard-fought (still some bruises left), 3-way primary, from which Rick Nolan emerged the winner. Nolan is a former MN Congressman, but from a different district...which he represented from 1974 to 1980! (When we say "old school" we really mean it!)
      Outside groups (like Karl Rove's band of cutthroats and Norm "Horse Dentures" Coleman's group) have put a lot of money into this ($4 million & more, which is kind of an almost-but-not-quite bad thing; the Iron Range has been hurting for years economically, long before the Great Recession, so millions of dollars flowing into media outlets in places like Bemidji & Baudette is kind of a good thing. But still, its political advertising....)
     Nolan has been making a fight of it and pulling into a tie. Today's poll adds to the luster of his internals and also pegs him at the all important 50% mark.
     Going into the crosstabs there are a couple of observations:
     Nolan leads by +3 among men and +10 among women (which USUALLY means you will be leading overall....except on Faux Noise of course).
     Among age groups, Nolan leads in all categories EXCEPT Cravaack leads by +5 among voters aged 40-49...(what has put the leading edge of GenX in that mood?)
     Cut the cloth among religious outlooks, and Nolan leads by +12 among (normal) Protestants and by +10 among Catholics. Among "other religions" (the Zen Temple of Bemidji; Isis Lovers of International Falls; Dyonisius Devotees of Duluth; atheists; and maybe (or maybe not) the agnostics) Nolan leads by +41 (!). Cravaack leads among the fundagelicals (which is an OTHER religion all unto itself) by +35.
     Some odd numbers among income levels:
     Annual Income
     Under $20,000          Nolan +36
     $20K-$40K              Nolan +5
     $40K-$60K              Craavack +9
     $60K-$75K              Nolan +12
     $75K-$100K             Craavack +5
     $100K and up          Nolan +16.

All by way of saying, it's still close, but Nolan seems to be edging ahead and MN may well deliver a net +1 to Nancy Pelosi.


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Comment Preferences

  •  "Rick," not "Terry" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WineRev, CoyoteMarti, Larsstephens

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Mon Oct 22, 2012 at 09:19:26 AM PDT

    •  Gaaak! (3+ / 0-)

      Yes, of course.

      Sorry all.


      "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

      by WineRev on Mon Oct 22, 2012 at 09:37:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Also, 1st paragraph below the fold (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NonnyO, Larsstephens

        Oberstar's name is misspelled.

        Nolan was one of the folks who is responsible for the creation of the BWCA, and if he wins he supposedly gets to carry in his seniority from his previous time served.

        I liked Oberstar, but a lot of people felt he just had been around too long which I guess is a viable complaint, and he also was a bit... well not blue dog per se, but perhaps a blue puppy in ways. I think it was the abortion issue we didn't see eye to eye on.

        Anyway, hope the poll is accurate and that it stays that way Cravaack is just an outright ass.

        •  Sheesh! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Fixed Oberstar's name.



          "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

          by WineRev on Mon Oct 22, 2012 at 10:21:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The other thing on Oberstar (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          angry marmot, lostboyjim

          was despite representing a fairly rural district (with only Duluth as a real metropolitan area) he rose by seniority to be chair of the House Transportation Committee.

          He did a lot of good for Amtrak, mass transit, bike trails, airports, roads, etc., although at times he had to fend off the crazies and lost a round now and again.

          He had a 5 year transportation bill in the wings in 2010 (sort of like a 5 year farm bill) but couldn't get Obama/Pelosi to bring to the floor and push it through. After he lost, and the GOP took over the House, lots of projects that have helped or would have helped wean us toward an enhanced and greener transport system have been whacked by Cantor & crew.

          On that front, not just a loss to MN, but a loss to the nation.


          "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

          by WineRev on Mon Oct 22, 2012 at 10:25:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I learned to dislike Oberstar (0+ / 0-)

          In '06 he co-signed Conyers' draft of articles of impeachment before election day.

          By Feb '07 when I emailed his office asking when they were going to move on impeaching Dumbya, the response (besides being a long email full of b.s.) said they were not going to proceed for fear of "Republican backlash."

          By '10, it was Voter Backlash he had to contend with and out he went.

          Oberstar lost my confidence when he - and Conyers - followed "Impeachment-is-off-the-table" Pelosi over the edge of politicians not to be trusted.  [I will never, ever forgive Pelosi her cowardice.  Never!]

          Conyers later had a dismal meeting with war vets who pushed for impeachment and ending the unconstitutional wars, and just sat there like a bump on a log with his tail 'twixt his legs without giving any good reasons not to proceed with impeachment.  If I hadn't been so mad at him for being a bloody coward and not following through with what he said he would do if elected, I could have felt sorry for him, but he brought it upon himself.

          That's why no one should ever take a politician's word for anything if s/he says "If elected I will...."  Signing on to Conyers' impeachment bill was 95% of the reason I voted for Oberstar in '06.  Post-election day and the betrayal of the "I will..." promise to impeach the lying war criminals and I still have not forgiven Oberstar for acting like an ass.  In '08 I left the Rep ovals blank - my version of being labeled "present but not voting" as some are listed when they do a roll call vote; otherwise, as usual, I voted a straight Dem ticket.  In '10 the poll numbers were close, so I once again voted for the lesser of two evils (Oberstar), but I wasn't happy because he had not kept his word in '06.

          The politicians need to learn that if they say they'll do something that they MUST do it BEFORE election day or face being voted out of office.  Politicians:  Don't make promises you refuse to keep once back in office.  Politicians only get one term in office to show us what kind of a rep or senator they'll be.  They'd best make a good impression or face being voted out of office in the next election cycle.

          Over 30 years in office is too long.  Politicians get too comfortable and become unduly unpleasant when they finally are voted out of office, if their original plan was to live long and die while still in office.

          I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

          by NonnyO on Mon Oct 22, 2012 at 06:20:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Pulse Opinion Research... (0+ / 0-)

    an offshoot of Rasmussen Reports, complete with identical methodologies.

    So if even they have Rick Nolan leading by 7............

    •  Interesting connection. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      angry marmot, NonnyO

      The Star Tribune has hired Princeton Research in the past (that I recall) and seem to move their polling dollars around every couple years. (I may be wrong; just an impression.)

      And the MN Poll seems to have had a pretty good batting average over the past 15 years or so. In 1998 they picked up that third party candidate Jesse Ventura was holding his own in the 3 way contest for governor. Their final poll (published the Sunday before election day,) called it a 3 way toss up....and Ventura won a close one.
           In 2006 their opening poll (in September, right around Labor Day) put newcomer Amy Klobuchar up by 10 points over GOP golden boy Mark Kennedy for the US Senate seat that year. The MN GOP howled at the "biased" "unhinged" "skewed" "in the tank" Star-Tribune poll. "Their numbers are WAY off!!" they screamed. Oddly enough, they were right; in the end Klobuchar won by 20!

      So we'll see, but yes, if there is a "house bias" in Pulse Opinion that they caught from House of Rass, and yet THEY are calling a 7 point lead for Nolan (Rick, not Terry), well the New Hampshire Klingon is in trouble up on da Range, you betcha!


      "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

      by WineRev on Mon Oct 22, 2012 at 09:46:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Amy's lost my favor, too... (0+ / 0-)

        Too many times she's voted as a blue dog, and she lost my favor entirely by supporting the removal of wolves from the endangered list.  There's a wolf hunting season this year in MN in the not-too-distant future.

        Even Al Franken has sometimes voted with the blue dogs.

        Single payer government-run Medicare health insurance... anyone?  Pfffffffffft.

        This is heartily depressing.

        I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

        by NonnyO on Mon Oct 22, 2012 at 06:32:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It will be interesting to see if the fairly sharp (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    North/South = Blue/Red divide from 2010 holds.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Mon Oct 22, 2012 at 09:41:06 AM PDT

    •  It will indeed. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      angry marmot, CoyoteMarti

      I saw some interesting numbers at a Drinking Liberally meeting on the Mpls. north side a while back.

      In a Presidential election year MN usually leads the nation in turnout: high 70s to around 80% of all registered voters going to the poll.
      That was true in 2008 and is looking good here in 2012.

      But in 2010, the governor's race (Dayton & Emmer & Horner) drew about 67% turnout, and that was enough (among other things) for Dayton to edge Emmer and become Governor. But at the same time the aggregate of the legislative races showed a turnout of only 55% or so. (IOW, about 300,000 voters came out to vote in the governor's race but then ignored the MN House & Senate contests and went home.)

      This led to the GOP taking control of both the MN House & Senate (the latter for the first time since 1972!) But the margin was ridiculously close...less than 4000 votes across the state. King Bannaian in St. Cloud won his seat by 13 (count 'em, 13!) votes. Some Tea Party fool from the Woodbury area carried his seat by 121 votes.
         ANYTHING close to typical turnout in the high 70s to 80% should not only help Nolan, but maybe Graves in the 6th and Obermeier in the 2nd, and even Klobuchar (she's faded to a 26 point advantage after all :-)) and in particular in the MN lege. If so, Mark Dayton could enjoy the next 2 years of his term VERY much!


      "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

      by WineRev on Mon Oct 22, 2012 at 09:55:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good update, thanks. (0+ / 0-)

    In general, we aren't hearing too much about the congressional race (this is not on the topic of your diary, but related to it). I guess this is because races for the House haven't shown much net movement, in terms of changing the balance of parties in the chamber--so far, at least.

    I'd ordinarily just write it off and say we likely won't see much shift in the House. If we going to see a lot of change, the tendencies for sure have been evident in the polls by now. So chances of our re-taking the House this time around appear to be very slim.

    But this election has been so weird. The explosion in voter turnout has gummed-up our prediction models, big-time. Accurate polls have been hard to come by, indeed. So, who knows? Are a lot of these first-time voters who punch a ballot for the president, simply leaving their preferences for the down-ticket races blank? Maybe.

    For a bit of historical perspective, I'll say this: Ronald Reagan beat Jimmy Carter in a rout in 1980. All but a couple of states went Red, and I believe the final electoral count was in the 400s. But you figure only a fraction of eligible voters voted. At the time, this was "normal." That's not the case today. We are, indeed, looking at an unprecedented situation.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Mon Oct 22, 2012 at 09:48:07 AM PDT

  •  This is good news for... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    This is my birth district and I have a certificate to prove it.

    I was sick when Oberstar lost.  Cravaack is a hack.

    If you have more than you need but don't have empathy you must be a republican.

    by Cecile on Mon Oct 22, 2012 at 10:03:15 AM PDT

  •  Perhaps Kravaaaack, after he loses (0+ / 0-)

    could run for election on his home world...Klingon? Ta plow! (?spelling--no Word check for Klingon)

  •  Very, very please to hear this (0+ / 0-)

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