News & Election Videos

September 12, 2008

Minnesota Results Good For Franken?

Democrats may not have two Republican-held Minnesota House seats at the top of their target list, but polls conducted in August show at least one vulnerable GOP incumbent and strong Democratic showings up and down the ticket.

The polls, conducted by Grove Insight for the Democratic-leaning Alliance for Minnesota, surveyed 400 likely voters in both the Second and Sixth Congressional Districts. Taken between 8/19-21, the surveys have a margin of error of +/- 4.9%.

In the Second, Republican Rep. John Kline and former Watertown Mayor Steve Sarvi were tested. In the Sixth, GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann was tested against former state Transportation Commissioner El Tinklenberg. Senator Norm Coleman, Franken and former Senator Dean Barkley, the Independence Party candidate, were tested in both districts.

General Election Matchups
Second District
Kline...............37
Sarvi...............33

Generic Dem.........48
Generic GOPer.......31

Franken.............42
Coleman.............39
Barkley..............5

Obama...............46
McCain..............35
Nader................3
Barr.................2

Sixth District
Bachmann............40
Tinklenberg.........27

Generic Dem.........45
Generic GOPer.......38

Coleman.............37
Franken.............35
Barkley..............8

Obama...............41
McCain..............38
Nader................2
Barr.................1

Two years after Rep. Tim Walz surprised observers and beat Republican Gil Gutknecht in the First District, Republican Kline faces a tough race to keep his job as well. With Kline's less-than-impressive 37% and a generic ballot that would terrify any incumbent, perhaps Democrats could find another target in Minnesota.

Democrats initially had high hopes for Tinklenberg, who lost the 2006 primary after being recruited by the national party. But Bachmann is in better shape as she seeks a second term than some had expected.

But in both districts, the news may be best for Barack Obama and Franken. President Bush won both seats, and that Obama is even competing, much less ahead by a big margin in the Second, bodes well for the Illinois senator.

Franken is running ahead by three in the Second District and trailing by two in the Sixth, both of which could be early signs of his strength outside the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, where he is expected to rack up big margins. Senator Amy Klobuchar won the Second by a 53%-43% margin over GOP opponent Mark Kennedy in 2006 and won the Sixth (Kennedy's base) by a 51%-46% margin. Franken is underperforming Klobuchar, but then again Klobuchar won by twenty points statewide.