Hey, it’s possible that it’s right. Part of scientific thinking is that technically anything is “possible.” But when you’ve been following elections and polling for quite a while now, it’s OK to apply some experience-based common sense to the proceedings. That’s what I’m looking to do, here.
The polling was actually done by Survey USA, commissioned by KSTP. KSTP’s news is the closest local approximation to what Fox “News” is nationally, and the brand is owned by the extremely conservative and also extremely wealthy Stanley Hubbard.
In a rematch of one of the closest congressional races in the country two years ago, Republican Stewart Mills leads Democratic incumbent Rick Nolan by four points in Minnesota’s 8th District, 45 percent to 41 percent, in our exclusive KSTP/SurveyUSA poll…
However, even a superior get-out-the-vote operation might be more difficult in 2016 because the top of the Democratic ticket, Hillary Clinton, appears to be very unpopular in the 8th District. Our poll shows Republican Donald Trump with a 12-point lead over Clinton, 47 percent to 35 percent.
The Lake Superior-sized red flag is immediately apparent. President Obama won this district in 2012 by 5.5%, and we’re supposed to believe that this time it’s going to go for Trump by 12, at a time when Donald could well be looking at a double-digit landslide loss, nationally. While for all I know such a four-year swing in a congressional district anywhere would not be unprecedented, it is certainly extremely rare and would require extraordinary circumstances.
A far more likely explanation is that you get a number like that by massively overpolling Trump’s base of conservative old people. Which if you look at the polling internals you will see is exactly what they did.
The article notes the 2014 precedent of a KSTP/SUSA poll that turned out to be way off. An explanation of sorts is provided by a political science professor. I’m not looking to get in Prof. Schier’s face, here, but I respectfully disagree with his explanation. A superior GOTV effort can get you 2-3 points, which is enough to swing a lot of elections. But 8+? Get real.
I call it “agenda-driven polling” – namely, to try to energize Republicans and bum out Democrats – and if you ask me we’re seeing a lot more of it this cycle than we ever have before. Many pollsters are trying to bring their numbers in line with what they really think, with the election getting close, but obviously by no means all. It’s also worth noting that Republicans flipping a lot of state legislative seats in MN-08, many held by pretty well-entrenched DFLers on the Iron Range, is one of their very few paths to holding the MN House.
All of the above being said, it would be unfortunate indeed if the GOP is able to buy this election via saturation-advertised claims that the incumbent – you know, the guy being credited by the U.S. steel industry with more or less single-handedly having provided it with new life – wants to let ISIS kill us all. Especially when the challenger is an incompetent, self-absorbed, right-wing, and most of all atrociously phony fool. Representation like that wouldn’t be good for anyone in the district, even if too many don’t have the sense to realize that.
From Mac Hall: Time out … isn’t this an improvement from last cycle — KSTP/Survey USA poll: Stewart Mills leads Rep. Rick Nolan by 8 points (October 17,2014) — hey, it’s now down to a 4 point margin.
Now, help me out here … but wasn’t Mills premise that this being a non-Senate year that Franken would not be on the ballot and Trump being there would help him … so if the poll is correct, then he’s timing is prefect.
I was struck by a couple of things …
— the fact that this pool has a male slant … 52% respondents are men whereas in 2014 it was 50% or 48% depending on which SurveyUSA Minnesota poll used. Is this area now, male dominated ?
— the significant number of “independent” voters … who happened to back Trump 45-16 over Clinton … really ? 30% of those voters are going to vote for Nolan but only 16% are going for Clinton … does that sound logical?
— the pool has a “Conservative” slant … 39% Conservative, 36% Moderate and 19% Liberal. This is an uptick in Conservatives from previous SurveyUSA Minnesota polls.
— the pool has a “Republican” slant … 47% of the respondents
15% Strong Republican
17% Lean Republican
Add to that 14% independents, leaves a small DFL contingency.
OK … here’s my question, actually, it is really the question of incumbency. Aren’t we asking : Should we fire Rick Nolan ?
And the poll says Maybe … 42% approve of the job he is doing, 41% disapprove and 17% have no idea (which begs the question, if you asked these people who their Congressman was last July, would they be able to name him.) Considering the composition in the pools, this is actually a pretty good number.
So, what could prove the SurveyUSA projection of a Mills victory ?
MNsure and ObamaCare … that is a driving issue that will be dominating the Minnesota airwaves.
IF Mills wins, it will be because he followed the Cravaack model — bash ObamaCare and ride a protest vote to Washington.
From Dog Gone: I did my part. I questioned how many of those Walk A Mile in Her Shoes walks Stewie Mills actually participated in, or did he even complete one. Couldn’t get an answer but when I contacted the national organization as to their involvement in a political campaign ad……………the ads stopped.
Given his Trump-like misogyny, I am skeptical that Mills did anything other than try to cover his own pale and vulnerable back side. But given the timing of those ads abruptly ending and my contacting the walk sponsors, I strongly suspect a Cease and Desist letter arriving at the Mills campaign.
While Nolan is not flashy or highly controversial, I suspect he does have a quiet but middling strong base of support in CD8. At least I hope so – Mills would be a disaster in congress. I hoped the good citizens of CD8 learned what that was like when Chipper Cravaack was their representative. Mills would be worse.
From Mac Hall: Hmmm … did you see the Strib endorsement ?
Yeah, you remember the one from Oct 27, 2014 – “Mills is fresh voice”
Well, now, the Editorial Board endorsement: Rick Nolan has earned a third term in Eighth District —
“The Editorial Board has never endorsed previously Nolan for Congress, either in his last two terms or when he served in the 1970s. But he has done well by his district and the state, and has earned re-election.”
From Mac Hall: How much money should a candidate spend to get elected ?
The most recent FEC filing for the Stewart Mills III campaign is a little eye-popping. $3,003,317.97 in operating expenses … and only $93,319 cash-on-hand. THAT’s a ton of money to spend for a job that pays only $174,000 … and that’s just what his campaign has spent … not counting the outside groups (Norm Coleman, RNCC, NRA etc.) Since the last filing (report date October 19th activity), there is another $110,000 from Stewart Mills PO BOX 1039 BRAINERD, Minnesota 56401 on October 25th.
Ya gotta ask yourself, if they are willing to spend so much to defeat Nolan, what do they think they will be able to get in legislation ?
BTW, there is more money coming in from Leadership PACs now … including some of Kline’s buddies — Virginia Foxx and Tom Cole.