Wednesday, May 26, 2010

New Ras poll on the Governor’s race.

Rasmussen is out with a new poll on the Governor's race today showing all of the DFL candidates in a statistical tie with Tom Emmer and Independence party candidate Tom Horner sitting at around 12%. But this is Rasmussen so it's got to be weighted towards the GOP right? Maybe.

The only other poll that has been conducted since Tom Emmer won the GOP endorsement is a MPR/Humphrey Institute poll that showed essentially the same result, all of the DFL candidates in a statistical tie with Tom Emmer and Tom Horner pulling around 10%. In addition Rasmussen's Obama job approval numbers, 53/46, aren't really out of line with what others have found in the state; the MPR/Humphrey institute poll for instance had him at 51/49 and the last non-Ras poll prior to that, done by St. Cloud St. University in October-November of last year had him at 50/47.

So the Ras poll looks to be in line with other polling, that means the Ras poll is giving us an accurate picture of the mood of the state right? Maybe, but there are reasons to be skeptical. The main issue is an overall lack of polling in the state. The majority of polling done so far this year has been done by Rasmussen and no other pollster has done more than one poll. Rasmussen's results for the state have been relatively stable, but there aren't enough polls done by others to be able to make a real comparison.

Another reason to be skeptical is the aforementioned MPR/Humphrey institute poll. While the Rasmussen poll essentially agrees with it, this may actually be a reason to have some doubts about the Ras poll. While I can't get at the Rasmussen crosstabs because I'm not a subscriber, the MPR/Humphrey Institute poll's sampling was 42% DFL, 42% GOP and 15% Independent. I honestly don't know where they got these numbers from, perhaps their rectum, but they certainly are not representative of Minnesota's partisan breakdown. First of all 15% is an incredibly low number for Independent's in Minnesota. The St. Cloud St. University poll mentioned earlier used a 33/25/32 partisan breakdown and a SurveyUSA poll done in March used 34/23/38. Either of those models would more accurately reflect Minnesota's actual partisan breakdown then the MPR/Humphrey poll. I would really like to know how they ended up with those numbers; being that they are so similar to the final numbers of the 2008 Senate race. One wonders if they were just being lazy or what.

Another issue with the Ras poll is their Pawlenty job approval numbers. While all the polls that Rasmussen has done in the state show Pawlenty with a positive job approval, 5 points on average, neither the MPR/Humphrey poll nor the SurveyUSA poll show him in positive territory, in fact they show him solidly in negative territory, -12 on average. And hey, look at that, Nate Silver just went up with a post indicating that Rasmussen would be taking a bit of a tumble in his updated Pollster Ratings, try not to be too shocked.

Regardless of all that right now most Minnesotans have no clue who Tom Emmer is and that's why he's competitive. The more moderate Republicans and Independents learn about him the more I suspect Tom Horner and the eventual DFL nominee will strengthen their positions at his expense. I think the fact that all of the DFL's potential candidates are running even with Emmer in a Ras poll and a skewed MPR poll when there is no official nomine yet is good news for the DFL and the state of Minnesota come November.

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