Tag Archives: Minnesota

Minnesota Staying Top of Mind with Team Romney

6500 at Paul Ryan Rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota

A few friends decided to stop by and say hello:


Images from Alex Moe at NBC who called the rally “massive:

Ryan Rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota Today! (Nov 4) 3:30pm

Putting their money where my mouth is, the next Vice President is heading into the Democrat stronghold of Minneapolis, Minnesota to rally the Romney-Ryan troops. Let’s pull off the election night shocker and paint this purple state red!

Paul Ryan & the Republican Team in Minneapolis!

When: Sunday, November 4th, 2012

Doors Open 1:30 PM | Event Begins 3:30 PM

Where: Sun Country Airlines, Minneapolis — St. Paul International Airport, 2005 Cargo Road, Minneapolis, MN 55111

The Sun Country Airlines hangar is located just off Hwy 77 (Cedar Road)on the west side of Terminal 2-Humphrey at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport.

To register for the event, click here.

Additional parking with shuttle service to the event site will be available at the corner of 24th Avenue and East 82nd Street across from the Mall of America

All attendees will go through airport-like security and should bring as few personal items as possible. No bags, sharp objects, umbrellas, liquids, or signs will be allowed in the venue. Cameras are permitted.

Questions: TeamMN@MittRomney.com | (612) 547-9841
For Important Campaign Updates: Text (MN) to GOMITT (466488)

Romney +1 in Minnesota (Not a Typo) — NMB Research (Glen Bolger)

We’ve blogged Bolger’s polls a few times on this site and a couple things bear repeating every time.

First, Bolger is a a partisan pollster for Republican candidates.  Second, his reputation for accuracy, however, is well-documented. In 2010 Bolger was one of the only people who had Harry Reid up in his Senate re-election bid:

Bolger’s work generally has been spot-on in Nevada — for example, he had Harry Reid ahead of Sharron Angle by 5 percentage points late in the 2010 Senate race, just off the final margin.

We know what happens when you dismiss smart pollsters telling you things may be different on the ground  in Battleground (?) States than the conventional wisdom from Washington DC.

The latest from Glen Bolger shows Mitt Romney leading by 1-point in Minnesota, 46 to 45. This is a 5-point swing from the 4-point lead Obama enjoyed in the October 13 poll by Bolger. In both polls the most troubling thing for the President is his deficit below the 50% mark. As we have shown, Undecideds break strongly for the challenger at rates upwards of 80%.  If Obama hasn’t closed this out by now my election night surprise may just be the cherry on top of an election night dessert:

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are separated by just 1 point in Minnesota, effectively making the race there a toss-up, according to polling taken for the conservative American Future Fund. Romney takes 46 percent of the vote to Obama’s 45 percent in the poll, which was conducted by the GOP firm NMB Research and shared with POLITICO. The Republican presidential nominee is up 13 points among independents, ahead of Obama 49 percent to 36 percent. They survey breaks with recent public data, which has shown Obama maintaining a single-digit edge over Romney, but gives Republicans reason to hope for an upset. Democrats aren’t taking the state for granted at this point, with Obama countering pro-Romney ads (including AFF advertising) and deploying Bill Clinton to campaign there.

In a polling memo, pollster Glen Bolger attributes the closeness of the race to Minnesota’s overwhelmingly white population. “Minnesota is very much a battleground state due the low minority population of the state and President Obama’s problems with white voters. Romney has a good chance to pull off one of the biggest upsets of the election cycle in this state,” Bolger writes. The poll tested 500 likely voters on Oct. 30 and 31 with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.38 percentage points

For President Percent
Barack Obama 45
Mitt Romney 46
Other na
Undecided na

Minnesota … Just Sayin’

Dropping the Hammer: Paul Ryan Rally in Minnesota on Sunday

I REALLY wanted to go all Dave Chappelle with the headline but quite honestly too many people read the blog now and the Patton reference this morning was about as far as I can push it these days:

Campaign Reboots, Hail Marys, “Charlie” Christie and Minnesota

President Obama’s closing argument is the “Independent”/Bi-Partisan Colin Powell video.  This ad says a number of things about Obama’s strategy.  First, his slash and burn campaign failed.  So he’s going with a reboot of his entire campaign theme 5 days before election day.  That is the very definition of a Hail Mary. “Charlie” Christie’s effusive embrace of Obama which doesn’t add one thing to New Jersey’s relief efforts (just as Mayor Bloomberg) acted as the lead blocker in Obama’s bi-partisan, can get things done across the aisle reboot Hail Mary.  Many of us will never forget this.

The closing campaign ad is running in “all Battlegrounds” according to the official Obama campaign statements.  This includes Minnesota and not North Carolina.  I feel vindicated on both fronts.

I’m not surprised there is no Romney stop in Minnesota stop.  If there was even a remote chance for a stop, that was wiped out when the candidates left the campaign trail due to Hurricane Sandy.

Romney may not be going to Minnesota, but Paul Ryan did and Joe Biden essentially is.

Thanks to the Late Debate with Ben and Jack in the Twin Cities, we know the Duluth News Tribune, a very pro-Union paper endorsed Romney. Things are VERY interesting in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Breaking Down the Campaign Travel Math

Jame Dupree of the Atlanta Journal Constitution breaks down the final campaign stops for both candidates and looks for insights based on where they are going and maybe more importantly where they are not. This is a time to sure up your base support to make sure the people you need to show up remain engaged.  At the same time you will push the envelope only within the context of 270 electoral votes not 300 so the fringe Battlegrounds absence is less surprising:

The President’s schedule over the next four days will take him to Ohio on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, twice to Wisconsin and Colorado and once to Nevada, Iowa, New Hampshire, Virginia and Florida. Meanwhile, Romney’s schedule has him making stops in Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado and twice in New Hampshire; both men still have a few holes left to fill in their schedule before Election Day.

The first thing that jumped out at me was the President is spread fairly thinly across 8 states while Romney is comparatively focused on 6 states. Does that mean the President is vulnerable in more areas so he has to play defense across the country?  Or does that mean Romney has fewer paths to victory?  We’ll see.  Here’s Dupree:

Ohio is getting the most attention by far of any state, as the President will be there Friday, Saturday and Sunday; Romney will be there at least on Friday. Colorado, Iowa and Wisconsin will also get visits from each candidate. Romney will stop Saturday in New Hampshire and is scheduled to hold a final rally the night before the elections in Manchester next Monday, as the four Electoral Votes in the Granite State are getting a lot of attention from both sides.

No surprise Ohio has both campaign’s full attention. The incredible investment by Obama in Ohio shows they know they lose without the state and the internals don’t match the farcical public polls. To be honest that level of investment seems to indicate they may actually be losing the state at this juncture. New Hampshire getting two visits from Romney in interesting.  Romney must see some favorable movement in those four electoral votes to give him reason to double down in these final days.

Maybe more telling the Battlegrounds where they are not going:

As of now, Romney may not be going back to Florida, the largest swing state prize – the President is slated to make only one stop in the Sunshine State, Fort Lauderdale on Sunday; South Florida was where Mr. Obama ran up big margins in 2008 against John McCain.

Clearly Romney is comfortable in Florida to leave it off the schedule. This is a big deal. His campaign did some chest thumping about a double-digit win and while that seemed a bit high to be I’d expect a solid win in the state for Romney.

Also, Romney at this point is not going to Nevada, a state that seems to be leaning towards the Democrats again this year, despite its swing state status.

This one is interesting.  Romney doesn’t need the state but he certainly invested in the state.  Obama is playing defense there which is smart.  Early voting is not nearly as strong for Obama a they had hoped but he still seems to have the edge overall in the state. Senator Dean Heller is running a great campaign for re-election there against a deeply unethical opponent  and his margin of victory may help drag Romney across the finish line in the Silver State.

Not on the travel log for either Romney or Obama right now are states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina and/or Minnesota – all of which have been mentioned a lot in recent days as possible pickups for Republicans.

For any student of campaigns, these should come as no surprise.  Neither campaign needs them to get to 270 so while they may fall to either campaign in a late breaking wave, campaign resources are focused at this juncture on 270 and 270 only.  No matter whether your number is 271 or 351, they still call you President all the same.  It’s smart campaign strategy.

This is the schedule – subject to change – for each candidate in coming days:

Thursday November 1
Obama: Wisconsin, Nevada, Colorado
Romney: Virginia

Friday November 2
Obama: Ohio
Romney: Wisconsin, Ohio

Saturday November 3
Obama: Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Virginia
Romney: New Hamphshire, Colorado

Sunday November 4
Obama: New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Colorado
Romney: n/a

Monday November 5
Obama: n/a
Romney: final rally in New Hampshire

Expect changes and additions to this schedule as we get closer to Election Day.

UPDATE: kostby in the comment section did the analysis I should have.  I’m trying to get on those Marist polls (who doesn’t enjoy a good game of “whack-a-poll” on the morining?) but if you look at kostby’s analysis within the Karl Rove 3-2-1 context you have to feel really good about his chances. 3: Indiana (done), North Carolina (done), Virginia (virtually done). 2: Florida (done) and Ohio (all the marbles). 1: Colorado (strongest play), New Hampshire, Iowa, Wisconsin all better bets than Nevada. You have to like Romney’s chances looking at the travel schedule with that context.  Thanks to kostby for inspiring the additional analysis.

I look at Romney’s schedule like this.

He needs NC, FL, VA, Ohio + one of Colorado, NH, WI, or Iowa. NC and FL are in the bag. So you hit VA once even though the polling is good. The one last visit gets you local TV coverage and excites your campaign workers. Ohio is the whole enchilada so you hit it hard even IF you are winning. Then you hit Wisconsin because you can win it to improve your mandate, but also because it is key to alternate paths if Ohio doesn’t work out.

Assuming NC, Fl, and VA are already in the bag for Romney then you have these alternatives to win:

Alternative 1 — Ohio + any one of CO, NH, IA, WI
Alternative 2 — WI + CO + either NH or IA
Alternative 3 — CO, NH, IA, and NV

I’m starting to feel like it’s going to be: OH, CO, WI, IA, NH as well. That would put Romney at 295.

How serious is Romney in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Michigan?

Mark Murray of NBC has the ad spending numbers from the Romney campaign and his SuperPAC supporters:

Plenty of this money is the SuperPAC moreso than the actual Romney campaign, but the point stands that in these outer Battlegrounds Team Romney is committing serious dollars at a 3:1 pace over Obama.

Obama +7 in Minnesota — KTSP/SurveyUSA

Don’t have the cross-tabs yet but this was the firm that had a D +9 poll two weeks ago with Obama leading by 10. The 2008 party ID was D +4 and in 2004 it was D +3. As soon as the details are released I’ll be certain to break down these results.

From Tom Hauser, Chief Political Reporter for KSTP-TV, St. Paul / Minneapolis:

KSTP/SurveyUSA: Obama 50% Romney 43% Other/undecided 7%. Obama had 50% to 40% lead two weeks ago. Margin of error +/-4.2

Party ID

This poll was D +7 (Dem 37, Rep 30, Ind 28). This compares to 2008 of D +4 (Dem 40, Rep 36, Ind 25) and 2004 of D + 3 (Dem 38, Rep 35, Ind 27).


Tied 41-41 among independents.

When you adjust for the unrealistically high Democrat turnout and an even split among Independents, this race is highly competitive, consistent with the actions of both campaigns sending top surrogates to the state and putting ad dollars to work.  This is going to be a fun state to watch on election night.

Paul Ryan to Campaign in Minnesota TODAY!

I has gotten this rumor earlier today but checked the official site and found nothing. But now this…

From the Associated Press:

Paul Ryan coming to MSP airport, Hudson event today

Paul Ryan will make a stop at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport this evening. He is scheduled to arrive at 4:15 p.m.

He will then head for a storm relief and volunteer appreciation event in Hudson, Wis. The Romney-Ryan campaign will be collecting supplies at their campaign offices to deliver to those affected by the East Coast storm.

Minnesota poll tonight:

That’s 7pm ET. I’ll do my best to break the poll down. Last time Survey USA’s awful poll inspired me to write that Minnesota would be this year’s election night surprise, so who knows what’s in store for us with this result.


About to go on AM 1130 in Twin Cities, Minnesota. Tune In!

The power is out in Manhattan for me but it is only annoying. Please keep those less fortunate in your prayers As the power outage is causing many problems for those that live closer to the water.

Tune into the Late Debate with Jack and Ben (10pmThe ET) for our chat on Minnesota turning red this year!

Lightning Crashes: ABC News Moves Pensylvania, Minnesota from ‘Safe’ to ‘Lean’ Obama

I can feel it coming back again, like a rolling thunder chasing the wind:

With one week to go, states that were once considered Obama strongholds now look less solid. Republican groups are putting resources into Minnesota and Pennsylvania. Team Obama brushes off these incursions as wishful thinking by Republicans, but noticeably they are putting money and muscle into both states. Minnesota has been added to Bill Clinton’s schedule. And, Obama campaign officials admitted that they will once again start running ads in Pennsylvania.

So, what is happening in Minnesota? Demographics. As our ABC/Washington Post poll has shown, Romney has a substantial lead among white men. Minnesota is one of the least diverse states in the country with 90 percent of the electorate in 2008 made of white voters. In other Midwestern states with small minority populations, like Iowa and Wisconsin, the Obama campaign has flooded the airwaves for months with anti-Romney ads. They have done nothing of the sort in Minnesota.

Moreover, the airwaves in states like Ohio and Virginia are already heavily saturated. The ground game is the name of the game now in those places. That means that SuperPAC’s with lots of money can get a better return on their investment  on the airwaves in places like Pennsylvania and Minnesota than in the  eight battleground states where the campaigns have been most heavily engaged.

Bill Clinton Campaigning This Week in Minnesota

Keep telling yourself its not in play. This is Obama’s #1 surrogate. Bigger than the Vice-President:

This is based on a conference call David Axelrod is having right now with the press. He claims the targets are a mix of “battleground states” and “states with strong Democratic bases” per Memoli.


Romney Rally in Minnesota? May be in the works . . .

Tom Hauser is the Chief Political Reporter for KSTP-TV, St. Paul / Minneapolis

Obama +3 in Minnesota, Below 50% — Mason Dixon

Last night while watching a certain 5th ranked team go into Norman and beat up on the 8th ranked team, I teased the Minneapolis star Tribune Poll showing President Obama with a slim 3-point lead in Minnesota.  The results are out with Obama leading 47 to 44 demonstrating there is plenty of good news as well as opportunity for Mitt Romney in Minnesota should he choose to expand the Battleground map:

The party ID is D +5 (Dem 38, Rep 33, Ind 29). This compares to 2008 of D +4 (Dem 40, Rep 36, Ind 25) and 2004 of D + 3 (Dem 38, Rep 35, Ind 27). Minnesota party ID was stable between the prior two elections so this election will be a big test.  Is Minnesota trending Republican so this D +5 is unrealistic or is Minnesota stable like Iowa and D +5 is within a reasonable range?  We won’t know that answer until the election aftermath.

Obama leads with seniors 54 to 40 — this is huge for a couple of reasons.  Every where Romney and Ryan took their medicare and social security message , they lead with seniors by typically 10 points.  This demographic appears under the old Democrat mediscare spell.  Obama leads on these issues 50 to 41. Romney has the money.  Blitz the state on saving medicare and here are the votes you can flip plus Undecideds and turn Minnesaota red

Interesting age make-up in the poll.  Seniors (65+) make-up 26% of those surveyed when they were only 13% in 2008.  Considering Obama leads by 9pts with this group you can see this shade in favor of Obama

Independents favor Obama 43 to 37 with 13% Undecided — Independents in Wisconsin also break for Obama versus everywhere else in the country where they break for Romney.  Must be something in the ice up there

Other highlights:

  • Obama at 47 at this point with 7% Undecided in the election means he’s ripe for the taking.
  • Gender gap: Obama leads with women, 53 to 37; Romney leads with men 51 to 40
  • Romney winning everywhere in the state except the urban centers — Hennepin County (Minneapolis) and Ramsey County (Saint Paul)
  • Youth vote: Obama leads 53 to 36, down from 64 to 34 in 2008
  • Obama base soft support: 6% of Democrats vote for Romney.  Maybe there is more votes to peel off with a visit or two
  • Romney base locked up: Only 1% of Republicans vote for Obama
  • Obama job approval at +4 but below 50% at 48 to 44
  • Right track/wrong track is 43/50
  • The debates killed Obama: Among those influenced by the debates 81% chose Romney and 13% chose Obama
  • The state is split over Obama’s handling of the Benghazi attacks: 36% positive, 36% negative, 23% in the middle

Obama +3 in Minnesota — Minneapolis Star Tribune


Still think @barackobama‘s MSP ad buy is just for WI?Poll out tomorrow has MN within the margin: bit.ly/TN8AM4 #gameon

— Ryan Mahoney (@rcmahoney) October 28, 2012

Minneapolis Star Tribune poll out tomorrow has Obama’s lead there down to 3

Reminder for the newcomers:

Election Night Surprise: Why Minnesota Will Turn Red on November 6 (Oct 19)

More Minnesota Rumblings

But you guys knew that all along

Ohhhh Snap! … Romney Running TV Ads in Minnesota

You heard it on this blog first that the Land of 10,000 Lakes would turn red on election night.  Now the Romney campaign has a Rousimar Palhares leglock (look it up) on the Obama campaign and is cracking that sucker. (h/t Tony)

Republican Mitt Romney is placing television ads in Minnesota, a move that pushes his presidential campaign into a state Democrats have held for more than three decades. Republicans and Democrats who track campaign spending confirmed late Thursday that Romney will begin running ads in Minnesota over the weekend. The investment is described as a small buy that Democrats suggest is simply intended to generate media coverage and force President Barack Obama’s campaign to invest there as well. Romney’s campaign would not comment on its advertising strategy.

Obama +5 in Minnesota — Rasmussen

Romney keeping Minnesota on the radar! I don’t have the full breakdown but thanks to @NumbersMuncher we know Romney leads with Independents by a whopping 17 points and the party ID is aggressively Democrat in a state strongly reversing its Democrat roots in favor of Republicans.  The party ID is D+6.  This compares to D+4 in 2008 and D+3 in 2004.

Here was my earlier explanation for why we should expect Minnesota party identification to trend Republican in this election:

In 2008 Minnesota’s political affiliation change was unlike most of America. Between 2004 and 2008 we saw Battleground States experience wide swings in their party ID as citizens bought into the magnetic story of Barack Obama.  States like Ohio saw its Party ID swing 13-points in favor of Democrats; Nevada swung 12-points in favor of Democrats; North Carolina swung 12-points in favor of Democrats; Virginia swung 10-points; New Hampshire 9-points; and on and on all towards the Democrats.  Minnesota’s party affiliation, however, only swung 1-point towards the Democrats.  This was smaller than every party affiliation move among even the most remote of contested state.  This lack of change during the Democrat tidal wave of 2008 is a major component of hidden Republican strength demonstrated in the chart above.  Minnesota is, and has been, a state trending steadily Republican even in the face of the incredible Democrat wave seen in 2008.

The details from Rasmussen:

President Obama earns just over 50% of the vote in Minnesota.  A new telephone survey of Likely Minnesota Voters finds Barack Obama with 51% support to 46% for Mitt Romney.  One percent (1%) prefers some other candidate, while another one percent (1%) is undecided. Minnesota is Leans Obama in the Rasmussen Reports Electoral College Projections. The survey of 500 Likely Voters in Minnesota was conducted on October 21, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points.

For President Percent
Barack Obama 51
Mitt Romney 46
Other 1
Undecided 1

Election Night Surprise: Why Minnesota Will Turn Red on November 6

Minnesota has crept into the news cycle recently with senior campaign surrogates stumping in the state and campaign dollars flowing to a state once thought out of reach for Republicans this cycle. I received a lot of push-back over my conclusion regarding Minnesota’s competitiveness based on Rochester, Minnesota being a top 10 ad market this week. Upon closer inspection, however, the evidence keeps piling up that the Land of 10,000 Lakes should be on everyone’s radar for an election night surprise.

The latest is a poll released yesterday from SurveyUSA gives President Obama a 10-point lead over Mitt Romney, 50 to 40.  Romney leads by 3-points among Independents 45 to 42 with 4% are voting 3rd party and 6% are Undecided.  Shouldn’t a 10-point lead definitely mean it is not a Battleground? If you believe that, you must be new to this blog.  A 10-point lead would largely be safe at this juncture if the poll were an honest representation of Minnesota today (and remember other polls have it as close as 4). But this SurveyUSA poll is far from a fair representation of the Minnesota electorate.  Before I get too deep into this flawed poll I give SurveyUSA credit for making all of the data available unlike too many other polling firms.   This allows critics to make their own judgements on what is lying beneath the top-line numbers and justify their criticism with facts and figures and not just flippant calls of bias.

Party ID

The biggest issue with the poll is the Party ID.  I understand polling firm do not weight their polls by party ID, but when they re-weight their polls based on age, race, etc and the outcome of respondents is a party ID disparity that defies all logic and reason, that means something is deeply wrong with the sample group they gleaned their answers from.   This poll specifically has a disgraceful disparity between Democrats and Republicans surveyed. The Party ID is D +10 (Dem 37, Rep 27, Ind 30).  This compares to 2008 of D +4 (Dem 40, Rep 36, Ind 25) and 2004 of D + 3 (Dem 38, Rep 35, Ind 27).  First and foremost we see a Democrat advantage in the sampling 2.5x greater than that the 2008 peak of hopey-changey.  This is ludicrous for many of the enthusiasm reasons often cited:

Basically, for the above reasons there is a dramatically increased probability Republicans will vote with greater propensity in 2012 than they did in 2008 while the inverse is true for Democrats.  But that is only one of the reasons this poll and party ID are ludicrous.

The Changing Minnesota

Minnesota is no ordinary state politically. The most important thing to know about Minnesota is the state is rapidly changing in favor of Republicans and has been for years.  Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics did the seminal work in this regard. His state-by-state analysis of voting trends shows that over the last 8 elections the performance of Republican candidates in Minnesota has steadily gotten closer to the candidate’s national performance. That is, when a Republican Presidential candidate got 50.1% of the vote in 1980, you could expect them to get 43% in Minnesota.  In 2008, the under-performance versus the national shrunk to 1%, meaning had John McCain received 51% of the national vote, he could have expected to get 50% of the vote in Minnesota.

If we apply only the most superficial analysis of Minnesota today and we see Mitt Romney leading  in the national average by only a few points, let alone as much as 7-points, it would seem more than likely he would carry Minnesota based solely that lead and the 30-year trend in Republicans favor shown above.

Party ID Recent History

This brings me back to the Party ID issue. In 2008 Minnesota’s political affiliation change was unlike most of America. Between 2004 and 2008 we saw Battleground States experience wide swings in their party ID as citizens bought into the magnetic story of Barack Obama.  States like Ohio saw its Party ID swing 13-points in favor of Democrats; Nevada swung 12-points in favor of Democrats; North Carolina swung 12-points in favor of Democrats; Virginia swung 10-points; New Hampshire 9-points; and on and on all towards the Democrats.  Minnesota’s party affiliation, however, only swung 1-point towards the Democrats.  This was smaller than every party affiliation move among even the most remote of contested state.  This lack of change during the Democrat tidal wave of 2008 is a major component of hidden Republican strength demonstrated in the chart above.  Minnesota is, and has been, a state trending steadily Republican even in the face of the incredible Democrat wave seen in 2008.

Republicans have surged in local politics

But more than just a macro statistical argument, Republicans have made dramatic strides at the ballot box. Over the last four years Minnesota caught the 2010 midterm wave for the GOP and flipped both houses of its state legislature, and in dramatic fashion:

  • Republicans gained a State Senate majority of 55/45 which was a dramatic shift from the 31/69 disparity previously (based on percentages not actual seats)
  • Republicans also gained a State House e majority of 54/46 which was also a dramatic shift from the 35/65 split previously (based on percentages not actual seats)
  • At the Federal level, Republicans picked up one seat balancing out the Congressional delegation at 4 for each party

Despite all of these substantial moves in favor of the Republican party, polls like SurveyUSA’s D +10 turnout still show up and is the basis for people to argue Minnesota is out of reach this election.

But what if Minnesota is not D +10 or anywhere near that?

Below I breakdown the exact same SurveyUSA poll.  First, as they have it with D +10.  Second with the 2008 party ID of D +4 and then prospectively with an even party breakdown for all of the reasons outlined above.  I use with the same number of Independents for the 2012 estimate that SurveyUSA found in their poll although I suspect Independents will be even higher on election day. Pollsters, campaigns, or individuals can make their own assumptions, these are just mine.

This following needs to be clear up front:

  • Party ID does not equal 100% in the SurveyUSA poll so I make Other 6%. Also, the “Other” category in the survey was unusually high at 6% but instead of eliminating that I shaved 3% from the two major parties for 2008 and 2012 est. Also the Other voters overwhelmingly supported 3rd party candidates in the poll so their impact on this analysis is small.
  • The vote total also does not equal 100% because of Undecideds which are also 6%. Due to space constraints I put Undecideds and Other on the same line which can look, when reading from left-to-right, like there are 106% of voters.  But this is not Cook County, it is just labeled that way so you know where the numbers come from.  “Other” turns out to be +1% for each candidate and Undecideds are expected to break at least 2/3 for the challenger which is +2 for Obama and +4 for Romney. Note: adding in Undecideds to the SurveyUSA poll gives the candidates final totals of Obama 52 and Romney 44.

Calculating the vote

  • The vote totals are calculated through the following formula: (Rep Party ID x Rep Party support %) + (Dem Party ID x Dem Party support %) + (Ind Party ID x Ind Party support %) + (Other Party ID x Other Party support %) + (Undecided x Expected %) = vote total
  • For example, with  President Obama in the SurveyUSA Party ID section this breaks down as (27 x .06) + (37 x .93) + (30 x .42) + (6 x .17) + (6 x .33) = 51.7 or 52

Scenario 1: Survey USA Party ID 27 37 30 6 [6] Vote Total
Republicans % Democrats % Independents % Other % Undecided %
Obama 6 93 42 17 33  51.7
Romney 89 4 45 17 66  44.0
Scenario 2: 2008 Party ID 33 37 25 6 [6]
Republicans % Democrats % Independents %  Other % Undecided %
Obama 6 93 42 17 33  49.9
Romney 89 4 45 17 66  47.1
Scenario 3: 2012 Party ID est. 32 32 30 6  [6]
Republicans % Democrats % Independents % Other %  Undecided %
Obama 6 93 42 17 33 47.3
Romney 89 4 45 17 66 48.2

Our three scenarios produce the following results:

  • Party ID  D +10: Obama wins by 8
  • Party ID D +4: Obama wins by 3
  • Party ID even: Romney wins by 1

The point of running these scenarios is the initial read of an Obama 10-point lead based on a D +10 party affiliation is folly. With Undecideds factored in that lead drop to 8 even in this unrealistic scenario. If there is no party affiliation shift from 2008 despite the overwhelming evidence provided, Romney is only down 2.8 points with an unconsolidated base (think a visit might help?) as well as conservative estimates on Undecideds.  If, however, Republicans have burnished their brand and the enthusiasm issue is as meaningful as polling would indicate, the decades-long steady rise in Republican performance in Minnesota should deliver a victory for Romney on November 6.  Enhancing every one of these scenarios is the prospect of a decided national popular vote victory for Romney evidenced by the national tracking polls from Gallup and Rasmussen Reports. If that happens, deep purple Minnesota will turn red on election night.

Minnesota Has One of This Week’s Top 10 Ad Markets

[See below for better context]

Try to tell me Minnesota isn’t in play when in a week with more than $58 million being spent on political ads, a Minnesota market cracks the top 10 in spending and no one mentions that?

Full credit to our commenter Adam for helping us with mid-western geography that inspired this post.

Minnesota has been showing up a lot on this blog that is restricted to only the Battlegrounds. But in the weekly top 10 ad buys post below, MSNBC mislabeled the following market as an Iowa market: “Rochester-Mason City-Austin (Iowa).” This market is three cities on the Minnesota/Iowa border.  According to the broadcasting index, there are 6 major stations in this market and 4 are in Minnesota (ABC, NBC, FOX and PBS) and 2 are in Iowa (CBS and PBS):

3 KIMT CBS ID: “News Channel 3”
City: Mason City, IA
Owner: Media General
Web Site: http://www.kimt.com/
Station Info: Digital Full-Power
KAAL ABC City: Austin, MN
Web Site: http://www.kaaltv.com/
Station Info: Digital Full-Power
KTTC NBC City: Rochester, MN
Owner: Quincy Newspapers
Web Site: http://www.kttc.com/
Station Info: Digital Full-Power
KSMQ PBS City: Austin, MN
Owner: Southern Minnesota Quality Broadcasting
Web Site: http://www.ksmq.org/
Station Info: Digital Educational Full-Power
City: Mason City, IA
Owner: Iowa Public Broadcasting
Web Site: http://www.iptv.org/
Station Info: Digital Educational Full-Power
City: Rochester, MN
Owner: Sagamorehill
Web Site: http://www.fox47kxlt.com/
Station Info: Digital Full-Power

Thanks to commenter Kevin we have the broadcast map these stations reach which you see stretches well into Iowa but only reaches a sparsely populated area.

When we look at the populations of the three cities (161,780 total), as eagle-eyed commenter Adam points out, this is a “Minnesota ad that happens to reach Iowa.”

  • Rochester, Minnesota, Minnesota’s third-largest city and the largest city: Population: 107,890 — 67% of the market
  • Austin, Minnesota, Population: 24,718 — 15% of the market
  • Mason City, Iowa, Population: 29,172 — 18% of the market

This means 82% of the population is in Minnesota yet MSNBC labeled this “Iowa”?  Come on. This is a huge piece of data completely misreported by MSNBC.  Chuck Todd broke the radio ad buys in Minnesota last night so I don’t think this is him but somebody went to decent lengths to mis-label what is obviously a Minnesota market that is also BIG NEWS. My excitement got the best of me. I trust my source below on this but I think it’s bigger news than currently being reported.

Addendum: An argument showed up in the comments section saying this is old news that Karl Rove has pointed out for months that this is part of the Obama campaign’s strategy to reach the rural Iowa vote (which explains the MSNBC labeling). I’m not buying that. Saturating Minnesota to reach an audience that is only 18% Iowa? They could probably spend less money and open up 10 Field Offices in Mason City, Iowa if that vote was so precious. One or two ad buys I could believe, but cracking the top 10 ad markets in a week with the highest ad buys this election? This screams of a Minnesota ad buy because something’s going on in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Addendum II: Counter-point from a smart media watcher who knows this market:

The placement in Rochester-Mason City is common for an Iowa buy. You are right that most of the population in the district is in Minnesota, but I know we are generally willing to buy broadcast in markets if 10% hits the targeted state.  Doesn’t mean that there isn’t positive movement going on in Minnesota, but its not unprecedented. Also, the American Future Fund has been pretty much alone in placing presidential ads in Minnesota.  They have placed in the Twin Cities and Duluth, which is more indicative of a real target.  If it has tightened, they deserve some credit.

The Remaining (Expanding) Battlegrounds: Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada … Minnesota and Pennsylvania?

Yesterday, in the National Journal, Major Garrett reported the following:

What also became clear after the dust began to settle from the rumble on Long Island was the electoral map has narrowed and Obama’s team, while conceding nothing publicly, is circling the wagons around Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada. Plouffe said that Obama remains strong in all four states, but he would not discuss the specifics of internal polling or voter-contact analytics, saying only that Obama has “significant leads” in all four places.

It is uncharacteristic of Team Obama to concede any terrain, but Plouffe offered no such assurances about Obama’s position in North Carolina, Virginia, or Florida. Romney advisers have seen big gains in all three states and now consider wins likely, although not guaranteed, in all three. They are similarly upbeat about prospects in Colorado but not confident enough to predict victory. That Plouffe left Colorado off his list of states where Obama’s leading and can withstand a Romney surge might be telling.

I saw this story and thought people were making mountains out of molehills. Major Garrett is a serious non-partisan reporter and if his conversation with the Obama campaign strategist revealed they were de-emphasizing North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Colorado or even ceding the states to Romney as he implied that would be the blaring headline of the story. But it was buried deep in his story so I thought this may have been off the cuff remarks where a reporter kind of knows it may be a story but its more likely a situation where the campaign can both effortlessly walk it back or blow it out of the water with an updated campaign schedule.

But the series of events after this story blew up make me think there is far more truth to the Garrett story the I originally believed. First, Plouffe is no dummy no matter how much partisans may disagree with his politics. He is a real pro and not the type of surrogate who makes mistakes of omission of this magnitude.  Second, the push-back from campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki that the campaign was “absolutely not” giving up efforts in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia hit the wrong note with me.  It screamed “methinks she doth protest too much” when if the story were false the campaign laughs it off and effortlessly releases its campaign schedule or ad buys emphasizing those same states, especially Virginia, Florida and Colorado since North Carolina is the one state  pretty much conceded.

Now today, Jamie Dupree of the Atlanta Journal Constitution writes the correct follow-up story which is the campaign’s schedule speaks louder than any words of protest:

We are at the point now in the race for the White House where decisions must be made by both campaigns on where to spend precious time in the final days of this race, as what seems like a simple decision not to campaign in a certain state can quickly blossom into a major story…The President spent the day after the second Obama-Romney debate in Iowa and Ohio.

He goes on to point out what you already know that North Carolina is off the schedule and off the Battleground States list.  He then gets back to the campaign schedule which is incredibly revealing:

On Thursday, the President goes back to New Hampshire – the four Electoral Votes of the Granite State could still be very important…Both candidates will be in Florida next week for Monday night’s final debate; when the candidates leave town, they will have 14 days of campaigning left and ten states to choose from. On Friday, the President will go to Camp David for several days of debate prep; Romney meanwhile will go to Florida early as he stops in Daytona Beach on Friday and then stays in the state to get ready for the final faceoff with Mr. Obama.

So other than the mandatory trip to Florida for the debate, no state mentioned in his campaign schedule is one of the allegedly ceded Battlegrounds. This supports Garrett’s thesis far more than any words of protest from a campaign spokeswoman.  But Dupree, like Major Garrett before him, buries the lede: “the President will go to Camp David for several days of debate prep”???  These locations are never an accident.  For the first debate, he prepped in suburban Nevada (his most important region in the Battlegound State).  For the second debate he prepped in rural Virginia (his weakest region in the Battleground State). Now President Obama goes to Camp David? He hates Camp David. This is well known throughout Washington and in the press. But Camp David is located right on the border of rural Pennsylvania which will generate local press in a state far more competitive than the media or campaign wishes. Sounds like we have another concession from Team Obama that Pennsylvania is a Battleground State according to the campaign’s own chosen debate prep site.

Dupree closes appropriately:

Once the debate ends on Monday night, both candidates will have 14 days to deal with 10 swing states – 11 if you want to expand it to include Pennsylvania or maybe Minnesota, where the Obama campaign is buying radio ad time and sending in the wife of Vice President Biden. So that brings about a simple question for the final two weeks of the campaign. Where do you go? No campaign wants to see a story that says the candidate is giving up on a certain state – but not every swing state may make the cut before Election Day. Where do you send your candidate next week? The answer is more than just Ohio and Florida.

This is all big news and something that speaks a lot louder about the campaign’s prospects than  fuzzy polls or bravado about competing in states already conceded.

Minnesota Again

We told you earlier about Jill Biden heading to Minnesota, now Chuck Todd breaks another piece to the story:

Getting Nervous in Minnesota? Obama +4, 47 to 43 — Glen Bolger

We’ve had a surprising number of posts on Minnesota this cycle.  It’s a state that has undeniably been trending Republican for years but was thought to be just out of reach this election.  Nagging anecdotal things, however, keep cropping up making this state all the more intriguing down the home stretch.  Paul Ryan heads there for a fundraiser nest week but no rallies are scheduled. Far more interesting is Jill Biden heads there next week for an official rally.  Now to be clear her ranking in importance is last among the big four: The President, the Vice President, the First Lady and wife of the Vice President but it is an official visit which is very telling. This also isn’t their first campaign stop in The Land of 10,000 Lakes. The big dogs visited earlier in the calendar: The President held an official rally in June and the Vice President campaigned in Minneapolis and St. Paul in August :

Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, will campaign in Minnesota next week. Events aren’t finalized but a Democratic official says Biden will campaign in Minneapolis and Duluth on Oct. 19 and Oct. 20. This will be Jill Biden’s second campaign stop in Minnesota since Labor Day.

The announcement comes on the same day that Paul Ryan, the Republican nominee for Vice President, is scheduled to hold a private fundraiser in Minneapolis. Guests are being asked to give at least $1,000 to attend the event. Couples who give $25,000 can attend a private dinner with Ryan.

Ryan has no public events scheduled in the state – a signal that Minnesota may be losing the swing state status it gained in prior election cycles. Mitt Romney held a private fundraiser in Minnesota in August but held no public events.

Now we have the explanation.  Respected Republican pollster Glen Bolger ran a poll for a pro-Romney PAC, the American Future Fund, and the results show President Obama with a 4-point lead, 47 to 43:

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan trail Barack Obama and Joe Biden by just four points – 43% Romney/Ryan to 47% Obama/Biden in the Presidential race in Minnesota. While Minnesota is a Democratic state, the Romney/Ryan ticket’s 45%-32% lead over Obama/Biden among Independents makes the state competitive. Romney/Ryan lead 45%-42% among men, but trail 42%-52% among women. Romney’s image is 45% favorable/44% unfavorable, which is a little weaker than Obama’s 50% favorable/44% unfavorable image. However, among Independents, Romney has a huge advantage. He has a 50% fav/33% unfav image, while Obama is at a staggeringly bad 36% fav/49% unfav. When we asked voters if what they “have seen, read or heard about the Presidential debate make you more favorable or less favorable to Mitt Romney,” fully 47% said more favorable while 29% said less favorable – a net of +18 points. Barack Obama did not fare as well: only 23% were more favorable to him because of the debate, while 45% were less favorable – a net of -22. A state that has elected several Republicans to statewide office is competitive on the Presidential level as well.

What if Barack Obama is NOT winning in Minnesota?

This is a state where Mitt Romney has only a small presence but is does lurk in the nether regions of Battleground States that has undeniably trended Republican over the last two decades.  You likely can’t win if you don’t compete, but the latest Minnesota poll would not give me comfort if I were Team Obama given the alleged 8-point lead in the survey.  Here are the details and why Obama is more vulnerable in Minnesota than you might think:

  • President Obama leads Mitt Romney 48 to 40; the headline problem is Obama can’t crack 50% — a big problem in an allegedly safe state
  • The party ID of the poll was D +13 (Dem 41, Rep 28, Ind 31).  This compares to D +6 in 2008 (Dem 40, Rep 36, Ind 25) and D +3 in 2004 (Dem 38, Rep 35, Ind 27).
  • Many problems with that voter make-up:
  1. A 7-point advantage over Obama’s 2008 monster year will not occur due to meaningfully reduced enthusiasm plus voters simply switching parties
  2. The entirety of Obama’s lead is based solely on the party make-up of the survey
  3. The poll has Democrat make-up above its 2008 peak but reduces the GOP make-up 8 points despite Republicans using a wave of pickups to take over both houses of the state legislature in 2010
  4. The party ID means Romney is winning with Independents by a sizable margin but exact #s not available
  5. In this poll massively over-sampling Democrats, Obama’s sub-50% vote looks even worse
  • Obama won the state by 10-points in 2008 which is four less than his win in neighboring Wisconsin where he is definitely vulnerable
  • Although Minnesota unemployment is comparatively low at 5.9%, it has ticked up 0.3% over the last two months and union strong-arming is fast becoming a thorny issue in the state
  • This isn’t the first poll that skews Democrat showing Obama with a single-digit lead

The bottom line is Minnesota is not on the immediate radar but these numbers demonstrate and incredible vulnerability for Obama in Minnesota that could be exploited by an aggressive Romney campaign.

Minnesota Sneaking Up on Obama?

I still do not think Minnesota is a Battleground state, but it keeps sneaking into electoral discussions and the latest poll out of SurveyUSA has Obama only leading by 6-points:

In an election for President of the United States in Minnesota today, 07/20/12, three months till voting begins, Barack Obama captures the North Star State’s 10 electoral votes, defeating Mitt Romney 46% to 40%, according to a SurveyUSA poll for KSTP-TV in Minneapolis / St. Paul. Romney and Obama are effectively even among male voters. All of Obama’s advantage comes from female voters, where Obama leads by 14 points. Romney edges Obama among Minnesota’s Independents, but not by enough to offset Obama’s 2:1 advantage among Minnesota’s moderates. Romney leads in Northeastern MN, but Obama leads in the rest of the state. Voters are divided over whether job creation or health care is the most important issue facing Minnesotans. Importantly: those who say health care is most important split evenly between Obama and Romney. Those who say job creation is most important split evenly between Obama and Romney. Neither candidate has an advantage on these issues in Minnesota.

Part ID was Democrat 38, Republican 32, Independent 28 or D +6.  This seems a bit skewed to Democrats considering 2008 was D +4 and 2004 was D +3. The gender breakdown was Men 48 and Women 52.

How Obama is Losing in a Poll Where He Leads by +2 — Purple Strategies

Purple Strategies had another Battleground state polling release today with plenty of juicy details that basically says after a $100 million dollar scorched earth campaign of slash and burn from Barack Obama, he can’t pull away from Romney — and that’s the good news for Obama.

When we first heard from Purple Strategies on June 7, Barack Obama was up +2 points across 12 Battleground states that included North Carolina, New Mexico and Minnesota (but not Michigan). Now after a month of the most aggressive early campaigning in election history (and most of it negative ads against Romney) we find President Barack Obama leading by  …. +2 points, within the margin of error. Considering Obama likely has double digit leads in two states included in the overall results (Minnesota and New Mexico), this +2 point lead is HUGELY bad news for Obama. this doesn’t even mention that Pennsylvania averages a +7.8% lead for Obama. The bottom line: Romney can lose all three of those states and still comfortably win the election, Barack Obama cannot.

Takeaways from today’s release:

  • Barack Obama leads across the 12 purple states 47 – 45 with 8% undecided, this is flat from June by down from a 4 point lead in April
  • Obama leads by +1 in Colorado (down 1 from June), by +2 in Virginia (down 1 from June) and by +3 in Ohio (up 6 from June) — all within the margin of error +/- 4
  • Note: Ohio has been all over the map in these polls. April has Obama +5, June had Romney +3 and July has Obama +3
  • Romney leads by +3 in Florida (down 1 from June)
  • Obama overall job approval/disapproval is -3 (46 to 49)
  • State specific job approval is also negative: -6 in Colorado, -5 in Virginia, -3 in Ohio and -9 in Florida; It is also meaningfully negative in each region polled except when including Minnesota
  • Romney retains a 5-point lead among Independents (47% to 42%), essentially unchanged from his 6-point lead in June
  • The gender gap also continues: Romney leads by 8 points among men (50% to 42%), while Obama leads by 11 among women (52% to 41%)
  • 28% of voters believe that the economy is getting better, a decline of 8 points from April. Forty-two percent (42%) believe that the economy is getting worse, up 7 points from April
  • Voters’ perception of the economy on their presidential choice is now more predictive of vote choice than any other question we ask – including partisanship

NOTE: Purple Strategies does individual polling only for the four states mentioned: Ohio, Florida, Colorado and Virginia.

Game Changers Among the Battlegrounds

From the very beginning we have maintained that among the Battleground states, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin deserved inclusion.  Gerald Seib in today’s Wall Street Journal tosses Minnesota into that group and accurately dubs these states “game changers” on the electoral landscape:

Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania are four reliably blue states where Mitt Romney’s campaign thinks it has a chance to pull off an upset. A Republican win in any one of these four would significantly change the calculus of what it takes to win in the electoral college, which is where a presidential race actually is decided. They are similarly large and diverse old-economy states. President Barack Obama carried each comfortably four years ago, and they have been colored Democratic blue in every presidential race in the last generation. Minnesota last went Republican in 1972, Wisconsin in 1984 and Michigan and Minnesota in 1988, so they represent varying degrees of a long shot for the GOP. The most plausible candidate of the four to produce a Republican upset is Wisconsin; the longest shot is Minnesota. Yet Republicans think, with some reason, that they have at least a chance at each of them.

Why these states have outsized importance

While the presidential race appears close nationally, President Barack Obama and the Democrats actually have a distinct advantage in the electoral-college map. Because the set of states that seem almost certain to fall their way carry more electoral votes than those locked in for Republicans, they start with more paths to accumulate the 270 electoral votes needed for victory. The game-changers could, well, change the way that map looks. The game-changer states are rich enough in electoral votes to alter that picture. Minnesota and Wisconsin each has 10 electoral votes, Michigan has 16 and Pennsylvania has 20.

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Concerned Women for America Enter the Battlegrounds

A female focused group–founded to counter the National Organization of Women — is entering the fray in a big way this election season.  Notably they are playing deep in Obama territory targeting Minnesota and New Mexico among their otherwise Battleground states:

A conservative women’s advocacy group on Wednesday announced a major ad buy aimed against President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care reform. Concerned Women for America said it’s dropping a whopping $6 million on a commercial that will begin airing Wednesday nationwide on cable and in six key swing states. The 60-second ad features a family practitioner, Dr. Ami Siems, expressing concern about the health care measure, which was passed in 2010 with Democratic support but now awaits a decision on its constitutionality by the Supreme Court. The ad buy comes one week after the group announced a get-out-the-vote initiative that targets women in certain battleground states.  The six states in the ad buy include Minnesota, New Mexico, and Wisconsin-three states that lean toward Obama, according to CNN’s Electoral Map. The ad will also run in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Virginia, all of which fall under the “toss-up” category, according to CNN analysis.