I was out of town last week during Governor Dayton’s frankly weird performance, referring to supporters of the “Right To Work” amendment as “Extreme”.
More on that – it ties in closely with my piece on the DFL’s new PR effort to flood the state with unsupportable memes on wedge issues designed to fool the uninformed and gullible – later this week.
It’s just interesting to note how many “extremists” there are out there, according this SurveyUSA poll covering Minnesotans’ attitudes on the Gay Marriage, Right To Work and Voter ID amendments seem to show that a majority of Minnesotans are, by Governor Dayton’s self-indulgent standard, “Extremists”.
Let’s go through the numbers one issue at a time:
This is the weakest of the bunch so far; it’s winning by 47-39, and over the top in most of the cross tabs (other than 18-34 year olds, cell phone users, Democrats, Liberals and people making over $80K a year).
This is in line – and maybe a little better – than the results I found in the fall of 2010, when a Lawrence Poll showed that Minnesotans’ preferences swung strongly to Tom Emmer when they were clear that Emmer supported referenda or legislative rulings on the issue, while Dayton and Horner both supported legislating the issue from the bench.
The problem is that these numbers aren’t nearly good enough to pass the bill, given one quirk in Minnesota’s law when voting on constitutional amendments; blank votes are counted as “no” votes. Everyone who supports an amendment must vote affirmatively “yes”.
So let’s assume the numbers in this poll’s “Not Sures” – 4% overall – break evenly between Yes and No on election day, bringing the actual results to 49-41 in favor; then “Not Votes” stay on the sidelines, becoming “No” votes, making the final vote a bare 51-49 against. That’s not counting “Ritchie Votes”: the dead, people being vouched into multiple districts, people who aren’t legally entitled to vote, and the like.
Even without that, the measure loses by default. By this count, the Marriage Amendment needs to arf up at least three more points – five as insurance against “Ritchie Votes”.
With a state this polarized, it’s a tall order.
Right To Work
Minnesota is much less polarized here – and it shows. Governor Dayton’s memes on the subject have been more fact-free and desperate than usual – “right to work states have lower wages!”, he declared, ignoring the other context (closed shop states tend to be more urban, coastal and have much higher costs of living as well as wages) – showing how hard the DFL is going to have to dig for votes on this issue.
“Right To Work” leads 55-24% overall. It leads in every single cross tab – the narrowest is 35-32 among identified liberals. Bad news for the DFL – it leads among women even more than among men; more among the young than the old;
More importantly? Even if you take the 12% “not sure” vote and split it evenly among “Yes”, “No” and “Not Voting” , the numbers become 59-28-13, which really means 59-41 (remember, blank votes become “No”, as noted above). Even if every undecided voter decides to side with the unions – in other words, the hopelessly unrealistic breaks, things about as likely as me getting a third date with Amy Adams – or just sit the issue out, the issue ends up at 55-45.
It’ll take a lot of “Ritchie Votes” to beat “the extremists” on this issue.
Perhaps the best news of the poll is that the left’s idiot memes about Voter ID – “it disenfranchises the poor, the elderly and college students – are falling not so much on deaf ears, but ears that mock their idiocy.
During the 2010 campaign, the meme of the right was that Voter ID had 2-1 support in Minnesota. The SUSA poll shows it’s actually 3-1 with a bullet; the measure currently leads 70-23.
The cross tabs? Again – the measure is more popular among women than men (73% of women favor it, vs. 66% of men); more among younger voters, with a 77-20 lead among 35-49 year old voters); more among the educated (71-24 among college grads ys 63-23 among high school grads); about evenly across all income bands; even by 69-24 in the Twin Cities.
Most significantly? Only 4% of Minnesotans are undecided on the subject, and 4% more claimed they’ll “not vote” on the issue. Even if every single undecided voter is convinced to vote against the issue or sit it out, the measure passes 70-31%.
Even Mark Ritchie will have a hard time rigging this one.
Caveat up front; the conclusions below presume the SUSA poll is accurate. The poll is of registered voters, rather than likely voters, which is inherently less accurate on the one hand, but traditionally skews things to the left on the other hand; for purposes of the conclusions below, I’ll presume those two factors roughly cancel each other out.
GOP legislative candidates need to closely align themselves with the Right To Work and Photo ID issues. They need to hammer on their support for Right to Work and Voter ID, and the positive things that both bring to this state – more jobs, and an election system with actual integrity (although Voter ID is only one of many reforms needed).
The Marriage Amendment strikes me as a loser for GOP candidates – not because it’s off the ideological beam (although as a libertarian conservative, I’m less enthusiastic about it than some Republicans), but because presuming that this poll is accurate, candidates will spend more time and effort supporting the amendment than being supported by it. By tying themselves to amendments that seem likely to pass overwhelmingly and which show the deep wedge between the DFL and the GOP, on issues where the DFL is both wrong and diametrically opposed to a crushing majority of Minnesotans, the GOP wins free votes; the Marriage Amendment will cost time and effort to prop up at the polls. Not to say the votes can’t be found, but it’s going to take a lot of time and effort – which is the job of the various pro-marriage groups, not candidates.
The other takeaway, in light of the Governor’s prate and gabble on the subject(s)? In every case, with all three of these amendments, the conservative, “extreme” position is the mainstream.
But we knew that.
See more on the subject from Ed Morrissey.