John Hinderaker and Scott Johnson responded to my story last week about the internal polling in District 32B.
Over the weekend John noted Mitch Berg’s assertion regarding a possible Republican surge in a part of Minnesota’s Third Congressional District (House District 32B). The poll in 32B that Mitch cited should actually raise a cautionary warning for the campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer.
Let’s be absolutely clear, here; caution is definitely in order.
We’ll come back to that.
Comparing the poll numbers to the 2008 electoral results in the same state House district, Emmer is running 7 points behind Rep. Erik Paulsen, 9 points behind John McCain and 12 points behind Republican State Rep. and House Minority Leader Kurt Zellers.
The point of the story isn’t that all is rosy for Emmer, even in this district.
The point was that things are better than some of the media’s been portraying them.
Emmer, however, is in a serious three-way race. Perhaps the best comparison is to the 2006 gubernatorial election, in which Tim Pawlenty also faced a strong Democratic challenger (Mike Hatch) and an Independence Party candidate (Peter Hutchinson). Pawlenty drew 55 percent of the vote in 32B; Zellers drew 48.5 percent. Pawlenty did nearly 8 points better in 32B than he did statewide…This is an area in which a Republican gubernatorial candidate has to rack up the vote if he is going to win the election.
Comparisons with 2006 are useful, but not airtight. Tom Horner is a much stronger candidate than Hutchinson was – although in the end he’ll sap more from Dayton than Emmer.
It is time for a gut check in the Emmer campaign. The campaign is not going well, and the campaign leadership needs to wake up. The situation is not dissimilar to the situation in the 2008 Senate recount. The Coleman campaign buried its head in the sand about the need to play hardball. I am told Emmer’s campaign thinks it is on track, but the numbers in 32B don’t support their belief. The Emmer campaign needs to run as if it is 10 points behind Mark Dayton.
And there, Scott is right. And my point wasn’t to make the Emmer campaign feel complacent. Indeed, my point isnt’ aimed at the campaign at all. I’m not Power Line or Hot Air; nobody in any position of power reads me. I’m just Shot In The Dark. My audience is a whole lot of workadaddy, hugamommy Minnesota conservative voters.
Voters who have been the target of “Alliance for a Better Minnesota’s” fraudulent attacks on Emmer’s ethics and character in their “DUI” ads.
Voters who are the targets of the Twin Cities’ in-the-bag-for-the-DFL media when they bend over backwards to give the voters all the news that fits (the media and DFL’s narrative) about Emmer.
Voters who are the targets of the perennially ludicrous Minnesota Poll.
They are targeted because the DFL knows Dayton is a pair of threes – a terrible Senator, a man with an exceptionally dodgy personal history – and they know that their only hope is to keep Republicans home, or inveigle them to vote for Tom Horner.
They need to convince Minnesota conservatives that there is no hope.
To the extent that the current polling is accurate, it reflects that this effort has been successful.
And yet there is hope. And yes, while Emmer’s had an exceptionally rough campaign, this is winnable.
I’m saying Emmer by three. I’m going to do my damnedest to make sure every conservative – of every party – and everyone who might not be a conservative, but can read the numbers and can see the disaster Dayton would be, comes out on November 2.
And I’m not going to let the media and Mark Dayton’s hacks – paid and otherwise – have any of those voters jumping off the ledge.