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In a surprising result from the Star-Tribune's Minnesota Poll, the GOP has surpassed the Democrats in party affiliation by standing firm while voters abandon the DFL. The Minnesota Poll shows that 29% of all Minnesota adults self-identify as Republicans, while the Democrats lost six points since last year, dropping to 25%:
A new Minnesota Poll shows that Minnesota's political landscape is almost equally divided between Republican and Democratic voters.
In the poll, conducted last week, 29 percent identified themselves as Republicans, exactly the same percentage as a year ago, despite President Bush's record-low approval ratings and the conventional wisdom that Republicans are likely to suffer net losses in this fall's election.
Those who identified themselves as Democrats stood at 25 percent, close enough to be considered even, given the margin of sampling error, but down from 31 percent a year ago.
Given that this poll does not have a reputation for a lack of institutional bias, this is surprising indeed. The Minnesota Poll samples the general population of adults, a technique that normally favors a more liberal response. The Strib notes that the DFL has enjoyed a narrowing lead in party identification for many years, usually five points or more. This is the first such poll that shows the GOP surpassing the DFL.
Two years ago, the DFL surprised the state by recapturing the state Senate and wiping out almost all of the Republican majority in the House. It now appears that despite the lack of support for the Bush administration and the war in Iraq, both of which should have eroded GOP support, it's the Democrats that have moved backwards.
The question is why the Democrats have seen such an erosion in support while the GOP have not picked up any of their defectors. Unfortunately, the links to Minnesota Poll internals all point to the survey done two years ago, which does no one any good but demonstrates the fecklessness of the editors at the Strib. On the plus side, we do get the breaking news that Bush has increased his support ... against John Kerry. However, given the tenor of this state, some of those that have left the DFL probably went to the Greens or opted for left-wing independent status -- neither of which brings much benefit to Republicans, except that the disarray will damage the Democrats and possibly pull them even further left in an attempt to woo them back.
The poll shows that when accounting for the "leaners", the GOP edges the DFL 37%-36%, which indicates an opportunity for the Republicans. The real test of this will come in the November elections, when Mark Kennedy will likely face off against Amy Klobuchar while the popular Tim Pawlenty runs for re-election as governor. If the Republicans win both races and make inroads in the state assembly, then the Minnesota Poll may have captured the moment in which Minnesota finally swung red.Sphere It View blog reactions
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