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2010 Governor Races

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Minnesota Governor - Emmer vs. Dayton vs. Horner

Candidates

Mark Dayton

Mark Dayton (D)

Bio | Campaign Site

Tom Emmer

Tom Emmer (R)

Bio | Campaign Site

Tom Horner

Tom Horner (I)

Bio | Campaign Site

Polling Data

PollDateSampleDayton (D)Emmer (R)Horner (I)Spread
Final Results----43.743.211.9Dayton +0.5
RCP Average10/18 - 10/29--41.636.412.4Dayton +5.2
PPP (D)10/27 - 10/292058 LV434015Dayton +3
SurveyUSA10/24 - 10/27624 LV393813Dayton +1
Minn. Public Radio10/21 - 10/25751 LV412911Dayton +12
Star Tribune10/18 - 10/21999 LV413413Dayton +7
Rasmussen Reports10/20 - 10/20750 LV444110Dayton +3

All Minnesota Governor - Emmer vs. Dayton vs. Horner Polling Data

RCP Poll Average
Minnesota Governor - Emmer vs. Dayton vs. Horner
41.6Dayton (D)+5.2
36.4Emmer (R)
12.4Horner (I)

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Race Analysis

11/2/10, 8:08am -- The final polling is close, but Dayton is the favorite.  However, it is important to note that he underperformed his polling in the primary significantly.

10/9/10 -- Dayton's problem is that he's a well-known quantity, but not a particularly well-liked quantity. Remember, in 2006, an outstanding Democratic year, Dayton believed that he was too unpopular to win re-election. It looks like this is starting to manifest in the polls here.

Countering this is the fact that the Independent candidate in Minnesota typically performs around as well as his polls suggest he should on Election Day (which rarely happens in other states), so 40 to 45 percent may, in fact, win this race.  Still, Dayton underperformed his polls substantially in the primary; there may be a similar phenomenon here.

----------Race Preview---------

Today there is probably no state more firmly associated with the Democratic Party than Minnesota. Yet for most of this state's history, there was no Democratic Party to speak of in the state. The state was dominated by Republicans, although they were Republicans decidedly from the Party's progressive wing.

After the New Deal, these Progressives increasingly aligned themselves with the Democratic Party. When Hubert Humphrey fused the party with the Farmer-Labor alliance, it created the modern DFL, which has given us some of the most memorable standardbearers for liberalism in our time: Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, Walter Mondale and Paul Wellstone. Things had gotten so bad for the state’s Republicans that they actually renamed themselves the "Independent Republicans" for a time.

But like much of the Upper Midwest, the state moved toward the Republicans in the 1990s; it is only a few points more Democratic than the rest of the country today. At the same time, the state retained a quirky character: It is, after all, the state that gave us Governor Ventura and Senator Franken.

The Democrats haven't won a Governor’s race since 1986, including a heartbreaking (for Democrats) loss in 2006 when Attorney General Mike Hatch, who had led in most polls throughout the year, melted down at the last minute after his ticketmate was unable to identify a type of ethanol, and after he referred to a reporter as a "Republican whore." Tim Pawlenty won by a point.

This year, Democrats nominated former Senator Mark Dayton, who retired rather than run for re-election in 2006. Republicans nominated state Rep. Tom Emmer. Tom Horner has the Independence Party nod, which has played spoiler in previous elections (and which won in 1998).

Polling Data

PollDateSampleDayton (D)Emmer (R)Horner (I)Spread
Final Results----43.743.211.9Dayton +0.5
RCP Average10/18 - 10/29--41.636.412.4Dayton +5.2
PPP (D)10/27 - 10/292058 LV434015Dayton +3
SurveyUSA10/24 - 10/27624 LV393813Dayton +1
Minn. Public Radio10/21 - 10/25751 LV412911Dayton +12
Star Tribune10/18 - 10/21999 LV413413Dayton +7
St. Cloud State U.10/10 - 10/21462 LV403019Dayton +10
Rasmussen Reports10/20 - 10/20750 LV444110Dayton +3
SurveyUSA10/11 - 10/13712 LV423714Dayton +5
Rasmussen Reports10/6 - 10/6750 LV403815Dayton +2
Minn. Public Radio9/22 - 9/26750 LV382716Dayton +11
Star Tribune9/20 - 9/23949 LV393018Dayton +9
Rasmussen Reports9/22 - 9/22500 LV41429Emmer +1
SurveyUSA9/12 - 9/14656 LV383618Dayton +2
Minn. Public Radio8/25 - 8/29750 LV343413Tie
Rasmussen Reports8/12 - 8/12750 LV453610Dayton +9
SurveyUSA8/2 - 8/41326 LV46329Dayton +14
Star Tribune7/26 - 7/29831 RV403013Dayton +10
Rasmussen Reports7/19 - 7/19500 LV403610Dayton +4
SurveyUSA6/14 - 6/161617 LV383512Dayton +3
Rasmussen Reports5/24 - 5/24500 LV353712Emmer +2
Minn. Pub. Radio5/13 - 5/16701 A35319Dayton +4
SurveyUSA5/3 - 5/5588 LV34429Emmer +8
Rasmussen Reports3/10 - 3/10500 LV38357Dayton +3