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).