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Dean Barkley Trying to Make History in MN U.S. Senate Race

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A new Rasmussen poll of the high profile U.S.Senate race in Minnesota was released today with some surprising resuts, as Norm Coleman (48 percent) and Al Franken (47 percent) amassed 95 percent of the support of the 500 likely voters surveyed.

‘Suprising,’ that is, as the 3 percent support Rasmussen found for Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley is much lower than the 13 percent and 14 percent he received in polls by the Star Tribune and SurveyUSA respectively about a week ago.

Smart Politics projects Barkley’s actual support on Election Day to be much greater than the Rasmussen numbers, owing not only to Barkley’s higher than normal name recognition for a third party candidate, but also the fact that Coleman and Franken are locked in perhaps the most nasty statewide election battle in Minnesota history.

However, there has been an inability, historically, for third party U.S. Senate candidates in the Gopher State to even crack double-digits – and that is the first hurdle Barkely must surpass in his attempt to return to the Senate.

In the 22 U.S. Senate elections held in Minnesota since the Democratic and Farmer-Labor Party merger in 1944, no third party candidate has received 10 percent of the vote. Only four candidates have received at least five percent of the vote – and two of those were Barkley candidacies:

Dean Barkley, Reform (1996): 7.0 percent
Paul Helm, American (1976): 6.6 percent
James Gibson, Independence (2000): 5.8 percent
Dean Barkley, Independence (1994): 5.4 percent

But Minnesotans have been more inclined to vote for third parties in U.S. Senate elections in recent years. In fact, the cumulative percent total for third parties during the past 5 U.S. Senate elections from 1994 to 2006 (30.5 percent) is greater than the cumulative percent total for the preceding 17 U.S. Senate elections dating back to 1946 (27.9 percent).

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1 Comment


  • Barkley is now polling at 19%

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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

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    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).


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    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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