Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dayton slightly ahead

Mark Dayton is the slight favorite heading into the final three days of the Minnesota Governor's race but Tom Emmer's close enough that he could still come from behind to win. Dayton's getting 43% to 40% for Emmer and 15% for Tom Horner.

If Dayton does end up pulling out a narrow victory he may have Horner's presence in the race to thank for it. Horner's getting 11% of the Republican vote but only 8% of the Democrats, indicating he's a slightly greater threat to Emmer's base than Dayton's. He's also getting 26% of independents which is holding Emmer to only a 3 point lead with them over Dayton, a much smaller margin than most GOP candidates across the Midwest are enjoying this year.

The Minnesota Gubernatorial race is somewhat emblematic of the unhappiness voters across the country are feeling with politicians this year. None of the three candidates has a net positive favorability rating. Horner comes closest at -1 (35/36), followed by Dayton at -2 (43/45), and Emmer at -14 (37/51).

Neither Dayton nor Emmer really has any crossover appeal. Only 6% of Democrats are planning to vote for Emmer and just 5% of Republicans are for Dayton. That makes the state of this race pretty easy to spell out. Minnesota's a Democratic state so if the Democratic candidate wins all the Democrats and the Republican candidate wins all the Republicans and the independents split pretty evenly the Democratic candidate's going to win. That's where the contest stands right now so Emmer will have to make up some ground in the final days if he's going to pull this one out.

One other interesting note on the Minnesota Governor's race is the impact that Pawlenty fatigue might be having on it. There are a lot of open Gubernatorial seats this year where the unpopularity of an outgoing Democratic Governor is making it hard for his party to hold onto the office, but Minnesota's a rare case where an unpopular outgoing Republican could be part of his party's problem. Only 43% of voters in the state approve of the job Pawlenty is doing to 50% who disapprove. And the state expresses little enthusiasm for a 2012 Pawlenty White House bid with only 23% supportive of the idea and 59% opposed to it. It's a close race and could go either way but Pawlenty fatigue might help put Dayton over the top.

Full results here

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