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FiveThirtyEight

Politics

In light of some of the pessimistic results for Democrats in recent days, the margins here probably qualify as a mild surprise: Rasmussen has Barack Obama ahead of John McCain in Minnesota by a healthy 14-point margin, and Hillary Clinton leading him by 5.

Two interesting sidebars to this poll. Firstly, the notion that John McCain can become more competitive in the state by picking Tim Pawlenty as his running mate may be completely erroneous: by a 35/30 margin, Minnesotans say Pawlenty’s presence would make them less likely to vote for the GOP ticket, rather than more so. Indeed, while these numbers are a little out of date, Pawlenty has never been especially popular in Minnesota: SurveyUSA had his approve/disapprove scores at just 49/47 back in November 2006.

Secondly, Al Franken may face an uphill climb in his battle to defeat incumbent Norm Coleman for a Senate seat, trailing him by 7 in a parallel Rasmussen poll. Presumably, Rasmussen interviewed the same group of Minnesotans for this poll, and we know that there were plenty of Democratic voters in that sample. But evidently there were a lot of ticket-splitters: people voting Democrat for President, but Coleman for Senate.

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