Skip to comments.Election Night Surprise: Why Minnesota Will Turn Red on November 6
Posted on 10/21/2012 6:26:47 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Minnesota has crept into the news cycle recently with senior campaign surrogates stumping in the state and campaign dollars flowing to a state once thought out of reach for Republicans this cycle. I received a lot of push-back over my conclusion regarding Minnesotas competitiveness based on Rochester, Minnesota being a top 10 ad market this week. Upon closer inspection, however, the evidence keeps piling up that the Land of 10,000 Lakes should be on everyones radar for an election night surprise.
The latest is a poll released yesterday from SurveyUSA gives President Obama a 10-point lead over Mitt Romney, 50 to 40. Romney leads by 3-points among Independents 45 to 42 with 4% are voting 3rd party and 6% are Undecided. Shouldnt a 10-point lead definitely mean it is not a Battleground? If you believe that, you must be new to this blog. A 10-point lead would largely be safe at this juncture if the poll were an honest representation of Minnesota today (and remember other polls have it as close as 4). But this SurveyUSA poll is far from a fair representation of the Minnesota electorate. Before I get too deep into this flawed poll I give SurveyUSA credit for making all of the data available unlike too many other polling firms. This allows critics to make their own judgements on what is lying beneath the top-line numbers and justify their criticism with facts and figures and not just flippant calls of bias.
The biggest issue with the poll is the Party ID. I understand polling firm do not weight their polls by party ID, but when they re-weight their polls based on age, race, etc and the outcome of respondents is a party ID disparity that defies all logic and reason, that means something is deeply wrong with the sample group they gleaned their answers from. This poll specifically has a disgraceful disparity between Democrats and Republicans surveyed. The Party ID is D +10 (Dem 37, Rep 27, Ind 30). This compares to 2008 of D +4 (Dem 40, Rep 36, Ind 25) and 2004 of D + 3 (Dem 38, Rep 35, Ind 27). First and foremost we see a Democrat advantage in the sampling 2.5x greater than that the 2008 peak of hopey-changey. This is ludicrous for many of the enthusiasm reasons often cited: Democrat enthusiasm down 10% from 4 years ago while enthusiasm among Republicans is up 10% over the same period This is translating into early vote trend in 2012 strongly favoring Republicans which is offsetting a huge Obama 2008 advantage Enthusiasm for Obama among seniors, youth and hispanics is meaningfully lower than 2008 Enthusiasm for Obama is down among African-Americans Enthusiasm for Obama is down among Jewish voters Republicans have dramatically cut into and at times surpassed Democrats 2008 voter registration advantage
Basically, for the above reasons there is a dramatically increased probability Republicans will vote with greater propensity in 2012 than they did in 2008 while the inverse is true for Democrats. But that is only one of the reasons this poll and party ID are ludicrous.
The Changing Minnesota
Minnesota is no ordinary state politically. The most important thing to know about Minnesota is the state is rapidly changing in favor of Republicans and has been for years. Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics did the seminal work in this regard. His state-by-state analysis of voting trends shows that over the last 8 elections the performance of Republican candidates in Minnesota has steadily gotten closer to the candidates national performance. That is, when a Republican Presidential candidate got 50.1% of the vote in 1980, you could expect them to get 43% in Minnesota. In 2008, the under-performance versus the national shrunk to 1%, meaning had John McCain received 51% of the national vote, he could have expected to get 50% of the vote in Minnesota.
(GRAPH AT LINK)
If we apply only the most superficial analysis of Minnesota today and we see Mitt Romney leading in the national average by only a few points, let alone as much as 7-points, it would seem more than likely he would carry Minnesota based solely that lead and the 30-year trend in Republicans favor shown above.
Party ID Recent History
This brings me back to the Party ID issue. In 2008 Minnesotas political affiliation change was unlike most of America. Between 2004 and 2008 we saw Battleground States experience wide swings in their party ID as citizens bought into the magnetic story of Barack Obama. States like Ohio saw its Party ID swing 13-points in favor of Democrats; Nevada swung 12-points in favor of Democrats; North Carolina swung 12-points in favor of Democrats; Virginia swung 10-points; New Hampshire 9-points; and on and on all towards the Democrats. Minnesotas party affiliation, however, only swung 1-point towards the Democrats. This was smaller than every party affiliation move among even the most remote of contested state. This lack of change during the Democrat tidal wave of 2008 is a major component of hidden Republican strength demonstrated in the chart above. Minnesota is,and has been, a state trending steadily Republican even in the face of the incredible Democrat wave seen in 2008.
Republicans have surged in local politics
But more than just a macro statistical argument, Republicans have made dramatic strides at the ballot box. Over the last four years Minnesota caught the 2010 midterm wave for the GOP and flipped both houses of its state legislature, and in dramatic fashion: Republicans gained a State Senate majority of 55/45 which was a dramatic shift from the 31/69 disparity previously (based on percentages not actual seats) Republicans also gained a State House e majority of 54/46 which was also a dramatic shift from the 35/65 split previously (based on percentages not actual seats) At the Federal level, Republicans picked up one seat balancing out the Congressional delegation at 4 for each party
Despite all of these substantial moves in favor of the Republican party, polls like SurveyUSAs D +10 turnout still show up and is the basis for people to argue Minnesota is out of reach this election.
But what if Minnesota is not D +10 or anywhere near that?
Below I breakdown the exact same SurveyUSA poll. First, as they have it with D +10. Second with the 2008 party ID of D +4 and then prospectively with an even party breakdown for all of the reasons outlined above. I use with the same number of Independents for the 2012 estimate that SurveyUSA found in their poll although I suspect Independents will be even higher on election day. Pollsters, campaigns, or individuals can make their own assumptions, these are just mine.
This following needs to be clear up front: Party ID does not equal 100% in the SurveyUSA poll so I make Other 6%. Also, the Other category in the survey was unusually high at 6% but instead of eliminating that I shaved 3% from the two major parties for 2008 and 2012 est. Also the Other voters overwhelmingly supported 3rd party candidates in the poll so their impact on this analysis is small. The vote total also does not equal 100% because of Undecideds which are also 6%. Due to space constraints I put Undecideds and Other on the same line which can look, when reading from left-to-right, like there are 106% of voters. But this is not Cook County, it is just labeled that way so you know where the numbers come from. Other turns out to be +1% for each candidate and Undecideds are expected to break at least 2/3 for the challenger which is +2 for Obama and +4 for Romney. Note: adding in Undecideds to the SurveyUSA poll gives the candidates final totals of Obama 52 and Romney 44.
Calculating the vote
(CHART AT LINK)
Our three scenarios produce the following results: Party ID D +10: Obama wins by 8 Party ID D +4: Obama wins by 3 Party ID even: Romney wins by 1
The point of running these scenarios is the initial read of an Obama 10-point lead based on a D +10 party affiliation is folly. With Undecideds factored in that lead drop to 8 even in this unrealistic scenario. If there is no party affiliation shift from 2008 despite the overwhelming evidence provided, Romney is only down 2.8 points with an unconsolidated base (think a visit might help?) as well as conservative estimates on Undecideds. If, however, Republicans have burnished their brand and the enthusiasm issue is as meaningful as polling would indicate, the decades-long steady rise in Republican performance in Minnesota should deliver a victory for Romney on November 6. Enhancing every one of these scenarios is the prospect of a decided national popular vote victory for Romney evidenced by the national tracking polls from Gallup and Rasmussen Reports. If that happens, deep purple Minnesota will turn red on election night.
Al Franken. Enough said!
Amy Klobuchar easily wins reelection ?
Minnesota turning red?
Has Obama lost the Somali vote?!
Would be a nice surprise, but I am not counting on it.
If MN went red this election, it would definitely be a happy day in my house. I spoke with my “lib” father this evening. He said that he is considering voting for Romney because he is concerned about the economy and national debt and doesn’t think Obama is willing to fix the problem. If HE is considering voting for Romney, there must be many other limbs considering it too.
Oops. I meant “libs,” not limbs! :-)
I really don’t expect MN to go red. I wish it were true, but I’m not holding my breath. However, I’d love to be wrong.
Your dad is a lib?? My brother is a union-loving libtard and most of my relatives. For the past 4 years, I got it up to here on their zingers about being a right-winger but once Mitt is in, I’ll make sure to gloat during the Christmas dinner. I’m so excited I get a tingle up my leg..
WI and MI maybe. No way PA or MN go red.
” Ill make sure to gloat during the Christmas dinner.”
I know, it’s so tempting to want to gloat. I would recommend waiting to see whether Romney actually does something to gloat about, however. I sure hope so...
For similar reasons, I came this close to moving MN to toss-up this evening. I have it as 49-46 and “leans Obama.” Possibly, it’ll be among the surprise pick-ups on election night 50 to 49 to 1.
My adventure into St. Paul for the State Fair, convinced me they’re all still nuts in the inner-city. Crazy, howling at the moon, Amy Klobuchar nuts.
I kissed the ground when I got home in the west metro. I would love for Minnesota to go in the R column, but I don’t see it. Too many D’s in Mpls./St. Paul and Duluth.
Berkeley of the midwest. I’m glad I have other heritage to offset the Scandinavian madness, plus I’m South Dakotan by birth and upbringing. Keeps me sane.
Gov. Romney is somewhat similar to President Nixon and Mr. Obama is to the left of Sen. McGovern
Wow, MNGal, that is something. How do you have a lib dad and you’re a FReeper? That has to be interesting. I’m the daughter of broken glass South Dakota Republicans.
I don’t see MN going red either. Just isn’t going to happen.
What some knee-jerk Freepers don’t realize is that Minnesota is very quirky when it comes to politics.
Yes, we’ve elected moonbats like Ellison, Klobuchar and James “Governor Turnbuckle” Janos. We even let Stuart Smalley steal an election.
But we’ve also elected people like Bachmann, Pawlenty and Rod Grams and flipped both houses of the Legislature in 2010. We also went 25 years without electing a Democrat governor.
So the state is, in reality, purple. Going red would be wonderful in November because we have a legislature to hold, and Voter ID and the marriage amendment to get passed.