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MN Senate: New HHH Poll Also Finds Double-Digit Lead for Klobuchar

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Excerpts from a report by the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance on its new poll on the Minnesota race for U.S. Senate:

The Democratic Party nominee for U.S. Senate, Amy Klobuchar, holds a commanding advantage over the Republican Party nominee, Mark Kennedy, according to a Humphrey Institute survey of 1,023 Minnesota likely voters in the week following the primary. Kennedy's campaign is being badly hurt by President George Bush's unpopularity and by deep concerns about the direction of the country and state. Klobuchar is strongly benefiting from extraordinary concern over Iraq and a huge lead among women voters even as she holds her own among men. The issue of terrorism works strongly for Kennedy but it is not playing a dominant role in voters' minds as they weigh the country's challenges. Kennedy's difficulties are not at this time pulling down Republican Tim Pawlenty in his bid for reelection as Governor. Voters who support Klobuchar are crossing party lines to support Pawlenty. The survey was conducted between September 13 and 18, 2006.

Large Lead for Klobuchar: The Democratic Party nominee leads Kennedy, 52 percent to 36 percent. In a reversal of the normal pattern, Republican support for Kennedy is weaker than Democratic support for Klobuchar: 14 percent of Republicans have drifted from Kennedy compared to 8 percent who have wandered from Klobuchar. Adding to Kennedy's difficulties, he is trailing Klobuchar by 22 points among independents (49 to 27).

Independent Party candidate Robert Fitzgerald is receiving support from 7 percent of Minnesota likely voters. He faces several challenges. He is currently lagging behind Kennedy and, especially, Klobuchar in winning over independent voters.

Bush Baggage: President Bush's unpopularity and voter concerns about challenges facing Minnesota and nation are weighing down Kennedy's campaign. Among the 60 percent who disapprove of the President's overall job performance, 77 percent favor Klobuchar. On Iraq, 62 percent disapprove of the President's handling of the War (50 percent of them strongly disapprove) and 76 percent of these voters support Klobuchar.

The Political Cost of the Iraq War: Iraq is the preeminent issue facing the country in the minds of likely voters and Klobuchar holds a commanding advantage on it. When asked to identify the single most important national issue, nearly half (45 percent) identify the War in Iraq.

Kennedy's political problem is that on the preeminent national issue on the minds of voters (Iraq), voters much more strongly support Klobuchar. Among the large plurality identifying Iraq as the single most important national issue, 67 percent support the Democrat and only 23 percent favor Kennedy. Kennedy holds an even larger advantage on terrorism (72 percent to 21 percent) but voters are substantially less concerned about it 5 years after the 9/11 attacks.

The Gender Gap: Kennedy is suffering from a huge deficit among women voters. Although Democrats often do better among women, Klobuchar has an unusually large 26-point advantage (59 to 33). Even among men (who tend to support Republican candidates), Klobuchar enjoys a small lead.

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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