September 4, 2007

Is Minnesota Thompson Territory?

Straw polls have dominated the news of late, what with the Ames poll in Iowa resulting in a boomlet for Mike Huckabee and the Texas poll giving Duncan Hunter a much needed, and much deserved, second wind. Two polls in Minnesota have shown surprising strength for Fred Thompson, one all the more so because he wasn't even listed as a candidate.

On August 22nd, the state GOP held a straw poll designed to help boost party donations at the River Center in St. Paul, emceed by local radio host Jason Lewis. Campaign activists for most candidates produced video presentations for poll attendees, but none for Thompson, who was at the time (as now) a non-candidate. His name did not appear on the ballot. On the strength of write-ins, though Thompson won the poll. Exact percentages were not given, nor could I get candidate totals after a phone call to the House Republicans, who apparently sponsored the event. However, a rough estimate of the graph shows these results:

Thompson - 22%
Romney - 19%
Ron Paul - 16%
Giuliani - 13%
McCain - 11%

The next week, Thompson made his appearance at the Minnesota State Fair. He must have made an impact, because he followed his surprise at the 8/22 straw poll with another good showing at the state GOP's booth straw poll for the fair. The results look promising for Thompson:

Thompson: 1,989 (32.84%)
Giuliani: 1,272 (21.00%)
Romney: 876 (14.46%)
McCain: 500 (8.26%)
Paul: 452 (7.46%)
Huckabee: 376 (6.21%)
Gingrich: 285 (4.71%)
Hunter: 137 (2.26%)
Brownback: 95 (1.57%)
Tancredo: 60 (0.99%)
Cox: 14 (0.23%)

That shows remarkable strength for a man who has yet to break out into full campaign mode. Minnesota could be a key state this year, since it has moved its caucuses to February 5th. They're non-binding but mostly definitive. If Fred can keep his popularity in Minnesota through the next four months, he could score an impressive win.

UPDATE: Commenter Filistro says "this primarily demonstrates the massive influence wielded by Captain Ed in his home state." As Fleetwood Mac sang, Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies ...

UPDATE II: Jim Geraghty has more on Thompson at the Campaign Spot. We'll be talking to Jim on today's BlogTalkRadio show!


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» Fred wins as Write-In at Minnesota Straw Poll from Blogs For Fred Thompson
Via Captain Ed Fred recently won the Minnesota Straw Poll with 22% of the vote. Here is the result chart: Minnesota Straw Poll Results: Not too shabby, considering Fred wasn't on the ballot. The amazing thing is that he wasn't on the ballot. That's rig [Read More]

Comments (15)

Posted by RBMN | September 4, 2007 11:02 AM

I think a lot of people look at Fred Thompson and see Arthur Branch..."doink doink."

Posted by filistro | September 4, 2007 11:04 AM

I think this primarily demonstrates the massive influence wielded by Captain Ed in his home state.

Posted by Rovin | September 4, 2007 11:31 AM

While the MSM seems to want to portray Thompson as a candidate that is "too late" to enter the race, I'm reminded of the same statement made at the beginning of the march to Baghdad. Remember how suddenly we were "bogged down" in the sandstorm and would surely be defeated.

Thompson's making a lot of people nervous on all sides of the political spectrum. And the Leno annoucement is a stroke of genius. What better place to start than the heart of west coast liberalism, (hollywood), starting in the lions den.

Posted by NahnCee | September 4, 2007 11:40 AM

I think this primarily demonstrates the massive influence wielded by Captain Ed in his home state.

Then how did Keith Ellison get elected?

Posted by filistro | September 4, 2007 11:52 AM

Well, NC, it's obvious. Even the Captain wasn't able to counteract the enormous Minnesota jihadi vote.

Posted by FedUp | September 4, 2007 11:58 AM

I can't think of a single thing that Freddy has to offer the GOP! His only saving grace is that he is better than the democrats... but not by much!

Posted by LuckyBogey | September 4, 2007 11:59 AM

In Arizona, Rasmussen Reports: "Thompson leads Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton by seventeen percentage points, 51% to 34%. Arizona is the home state for John McCain, but Fred Thompson is the strongest GOP Presidential candidate in the state at this time… Thompson is viewed favorably by 58%, Giuliani by 57%, Romney by 49%...

... In Primary Polls… Romney leads in New Hampshire, Thompson leads in South Carolina, and Giuliani is on top in Florida.”

Posted by bio mom | September 4, 2007 2:48 PM

Why do the Republican conservatives have a death wish? How can you ignore the obvious. The country will not elect a white male southern Republican with a drawl this cycle. It is impossible for this guy to win. You make me want to tear out my hair. Nominate him and guarantee 4 years of a democrat as president. With a democratic congress. What a nightmare.

Posted by KJBtruth | September 4, 2007 2:57 PM

Bio mom,

I'm afraid you will have to explain the Southern Republican thing with some detail.

You may be prejudiced against Southerners, I don't know, but the reality is that the South WILL vote for Thompson.

I can't say the same for the rest of the field...


Posted by nate | September 4, 2007 3:13 PM

Bio mom is trying to turn your attention to approval ratings for the sitting southern POTUS. GOP voters do not want Bush 3.0

Posted by John | September 4, 2007 3:39 PM

I used to be a big fan of the Hugh Hewitt show, but since Hugh flogs Romney all the time and puts down the other GOP candidates, I have quit listening to the show and am rooting for Fred.

His popularity when undeclared illustrates to me how weak the declared Republican field is. Pray Fred lands with his feet on the ground and is able to speak with authority to the needs and desires of the American public.

Posted by John | September 4, 2007 3:56 PM

Folks who complain about Thompson getting into the race late (mainly, it seems from the Romney camp) seem to forget that we're still four month out from Iowa, and more importantly, the reason candidates have to get into races early is to develop the name recognition needed to raise large campaign donations.

Thompson doesn't have that problem -- He's not only known, but thanks to the role he has played, he known in a favorable manner by most people. Back when Reagan ran for governor in 1966, one of the questions was whether or not his final role, as a gangster in 1964's "The Killers" would leave California voters with a negative impression of the man. But Reagan's other roles had created a favorable view of him in the minds of voters, and all the demonization efforts of the Democrats were ineffective.

Thompson has the same advantage here. He can get in late because his overall personally already is defined in the minds of the public, even if many are still unsure of his political views. Once he gets in officially, his job will be to articulate those views so that people will be willing to fork over donations, but if he does that right, the hurdle he has to climb to get people to open their checkbooks is a lot lower than for other candidates in the second tier who may have similar viewpoints.

Posted by brooklyn - hnav | September 4, 2007 4:02 PM

Maybe Minnesota just likes Moderate Senators who vote exactly like McCain...

Posted by Ron C | September 4, 2007 10:13 PM

It's easy to see that many here are in for a huge disappointment, if they hope Thompson won't become the top runner - because he will, in extremely short order. Now, whether or not that will hold true through Christmas is another matter - it might not.

And worse (for Fred) he faces a much more liberal GOP convention than did Reagan... but, thankfully, the majority of the convention delegates are of the full-throated conservative type, and most likely Fred will get the nomination.

When that happens, Hillary will face real trouble, and bottom line... Thompson will most likely be our next President - despite the averse punditry on this thread.

Posted by Joel Lemieux | September 5, 2007 11:56 AM

I use to have compassion for individuals who were "brainwashed" by the likes of Bush/Chenney, "Rudi McRomney" and cousin "Freddie" Plus Dem Relatives "Obama" and "Hillary" (all of them CFR Globalist?)... However, now I can only feel sorry for them...

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