Over the weekend, the Strib announced…
…that Minnesota is pretty dang close.
As the presidential race tightens across the country, a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll has found that it is narrowing here as well, with President Obama holding a 3-point lead and Republican Mitt Romney making gains in the state.
The poll shows Obama with support from 47 percent of likely voters and Romney earning backing from 44 percent — a lead within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
The piece – by Rachel Stassen-Berger – notes that this is a real tightening from the poll last month:
Last month, Obama had an 8-percentage point advantage in the Minnesota Poll. Romney has apparently cut into the Democrat’s advantage among women since then and picked up support from Minnesotans who were previously undecided or said they would vote for a third-party candidate.
Independents, on the other hand, are leaning more toward Obama. Barely a third supported him last month, but that number has grown to 43 percent. Romney’s support among independents remains virtually unchanged, with 13 percent of that group remaining undecided.
That very well may be the change over the past month.
But here’s the other: the partisan sample changed. It changed a lot:
The poll comes as more Minnesotans identify as Republicans, which could add to Romney’s support. A month ago, the poll’s sample was 41 percent Democrat, 28 percent Republican and 31 percent independent or other. In this survey, 38 percent of respondents identified themselves as Democrat, 33 percent Republican and 29 percent independent or other. Minnesota does not have voter registration by party, and party self-identification fluctuates as events sway voters’ opinions.
Voter opinions certainly can cause the change. Lots of that seemed to happen.
And officials from Mason-Dixon – which has taken over the MInnesota Poll since the Strib’s comically inept performance in the 2010 race – are pretty adamant that last month’s poll was D+13 not out of pro-DFL perfidy, but because, well, that’s how many Democrats they found as a percentage of the population.
Does it make sense that it dropped 8% in a month?
Good question. One I’d love to ask the good folks from Mason Dixon. After the election, naturally.
But for now? D+5 is more or less in line with the state’s turnout in 2010.
My big question: will the Strib run their traditional “Sunday Before The Election” poll? I’ll try to find out.
P.S.: Our friend and regular commenter Kermit pops up in the article!:
Republican Kermit Hauge disagrees.
“Barack Obama has been an absolute disaster as president,” said Hauge, 54. He cited the unemployment rate, rising use of food stamps and Obama’s positions on taxes and health care among his reasons for supporting Romney. The clerical worker from New Hope said he didn’t start out a Romney fan but will now vote for him as a better alternative.
From your mouth to God’s ears, Kerm.