The latest Humphrey Institute / Minnesota Public Radio poll conducted October 24-28 of 451 likely voters in the Gopher State finds Barack Obama with a commanding 19-point lead, 56 to 37 percent over John McCain.
The 19-point advantage matches the largest lead for Obama ever measured by a non-partisan pollster in Minnesota (the Big 10 Battleground survey from a week ago also staked Obama to a 19-point advantage).
McCain has not led in any public poll in Minnesota since SurveyUSA’s poll ending October 1st, when he led by one point. Overall, Obama has led McCain in 36 of 38 polls since mid-March, including one tie.
From the Humphrey Institute report:
Obama’s advantage and wider lead results from building a remarkably broad coalition, capitalizing on the backlash against President George W. Bush and the country’s economic downturn, and eroding core components of Senator McCain’s base of support.
The 2008 election has been reduced to one dimension – the economy and jobs. In 2004, 18 percent of voters singled out the economy as the single most important national problem; today more than 6 out of 10 voters do. As the economy has come to predominate, the national security issues that propelled President Bush’s campaign in 2004 have plummeted in their importance to voters.
The dramatic change in the issues of greatest importance to voters has transformed the debate during the presidential campaign. Among voters singling out the economy, Obama has a 25 point advantage (59 to 34) compared to a 74 point advantage for Bush in 2004. Of greater importance to Senator McCain, he has actually expanded the Republican lead among voters singling out terrorism to 82 points (Bush built a 74 point gap in 2004). In other words, if the 2008 campaign focused on national security and terrorism, the McCain campaign would be in a stronger position.
The malaise about the economy has combined with a deep disaffection with Bush. Disapproval of the President’s job performance has increased by nearly 50 percent since the 2004 elections while his approval has plummeted by an equal proportion. Bush’s disapproval puts a significant drag on the McCain campaign, with three quarters of the critics supporting Obama.
More than 8 out of 10 voters indicate that the country is heading off on the wrong track. Among these voters, nearly two thirds will be voting for Obama.
The confluence of the economic downturn, Bush’s unpopularity, and concern that the country is off on the wrong track has tarnished the Republican Party’s reputation. Democrats hold a consistent double-digit advantage among Minnesotan voters.