Monday, August 2, 2010

GPI update

On Sunday the StarTribune released the numbers of their "Minnesota Poll." Here's what the Gubernatorial Polling Index looks like with the addition of that poll:

All of the DFLers now lead Tom Emmer whose campaign is crashing and burning before our very eyes. But that's not what is of primary interest right now (did you catch that sweet pun!). The DFL primary is next Tuesday and this is the first poll on that race in over a month.

Here's what the DFL primary looks like with the addition of the StarTribune poll:

Because the only other poll currently in the primary GPI, besides the StarTribune poll, is an almost 50 day old SurveyUSA poll, the numbers will look very similar to those of the Strib poll.

So what does the Strib poll tell us? It tells us that the race is in virtually the same place it was back in May. If you don't include the Mellman poll, Mark Dayton and Margaret Anderson Kelliher's numbers have been virtually identical in the three polls of the race so far and while Matt Entenza showed movement in the SurveyUSA poll that movement needed to continue for him to be competitive and it hasn't.

Again, not including the Mellman poll there hasn't been any poll released to date that's shown MAK within single digits of Dayton. This is a very important point. A good ground campaign can certainly be worth a few points, but 10 points seems like a stretch.

There has been some criticism of the primary part of this poll, mainly from the MAK and Entenza campaigns. The high margin of error is certainly something to be aware of, but it doesn't render the poll useless. Primary election polling is a more challenging endeavor than general election polling because it's anyone's guess what the primary electorate will look like. It's made more difficult this year because DFLers are not used to voting in early August. So no one really knows who will show up on Election Day.

But the idea that turnout this year will be greatly depressed because of the change of date is a bit of a reach, especially when comparing it to DFL turnout the last few cycles in which there wasn't really a contested primary. I don't want to go into too much detail because I have a post on exactly this subject I'm working on for later in the week, but if any of the campaigns are counting on depressed turnout to carry the day they will be in trouble.

The fact that Mark Dayton hasn't had less than a 10 point lead in any poll combined with his popularity among seniors, the most dependable group in mid-term elections, makes it a very difficult road for either of the other two candidates to pull out a victory.

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