|Minnesota Presidential Teeter Totter Tips Toward McCain: In an election for President of the United States in Minnesota today, 10/02/08, 33 days from the vote, John McCain and Barack Obama finish effectively even, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for KSTP-TV in Minneapolis, WDIO-TV in Duluth, KAAL-TV in Rochester, and KSAX-TV in Alexandria. The nominal advantage today goes to McCain, who is atop Obama 1 percentage point, 47% to 46%, within the survey's 3.7 percentage point margin of sampling error. But: Compared to an identical SurveyUSA poll 20 days ago, Obama is down 3 points. How much of this is movement and how much of this is "noise" is unclear.
Minnesota behaves unlike other states in some respects. Among women, there is movement to McCain, at a time when McCain is losing ground among women elsewhere. Among voters younger than Obama, there movement to McCain, at a time when Obama is consolidating support among young voters elsewhere. Among voters older than McCain, there is movement to Obama, at a time when older voters elsewhere are sticking by McCain. In Western MN, which abuts the Dakotas, there is movement to McCain. In Northeastern MN, which overhangs Michigan, there is see-sawing back to Obama.
Complicating this analysis is the emergence of a possible protest vote. 12% of Independents, 8% of young voters, 6% of men, 6% of those who almost never go to church, 5% of Conservatives and 5% of Twin Cities voters tell SurveyUSA that they will vote for neither McCain nor Obama, but rather "some other candidate." How much of this protest can be attributed to the failure of the U.S. House of Representatives to pass an economic recovery bill, the day before interviewing for this survey began, is unclear. Ron Paul held his campaign "convention" in Minnesota a month ago. Bob Barr and Ralph Nader are on the ballot in Minnesota. Voters who tell SurveyUSA they are for "some other candidate" also tell SurveyUSA they are likely to change their minds. It is unclear how many actual votes will be siphoned from McCain and/or Obama on Election Day, however, polling results from the Norm Coleman / Al Franken U.S. Senate race in Minnesota, also released today by SurveyUSA, suggest the protest may be non-trivial.