"Doggonit Mr.President, people like you." (minnesota.publicradio.org).
by Tony Petrangelo
Jun 8, 2012, 7:30 AM

Minnesota is not a swing state

And if you need proof:

PPP (6/6, 1/26 in parenthesis):

Barack Obama (D-inc) 54 (51)
Mitt Romney (R) 39 (41)
Undecided 7 (8)
(MoE: ±3.1%)

While President Obama and Mitt Romney are basically tied in the national polling, the President has consistently lead Mitt Romney in Minnesota since PPP first polled the race in December of 2010.

Back then they found Obama staked to a 47-42 lead, just five points. His lead now is 15.

There is some room for Mitt Romney to grow, Barack Obama is getting 90% of the people who voted for him in 2008 while Romney is getting only 80% of McCain voters. You can see this in the party id cross tabs as well, Obama gets 94% of self-described Democrats while Romney gets 88% of Republicans. At least some of that is probably a result of a few different factors present in Minnesota.

Some of the more religious members of the Republican party may take some time to come around for the Mormon and the Ron Paul faction of the party made huge gains at the GOP convention last month, taking over all of it’s delegate slots save one.

But consolidating the Republican vote is only part of the problem in Minnesota for Mitt Romney. Because of the state’s Democratic tilt at the Presidential level, for Romney to be competitive he will need to do well with independents. The bad news for Romney on that front, people don’t like him.

PPP (6/6, 1/26 in parenthesis):

Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Mitt Romney?
Favorable 32 (29)
Unfavorable 54 (56)
Undecided 14 (15)
(MoE: ±3.1%)

That’s a net -22 favorable rating and Romney’s numbers with independents are worse than that, 26% favorable, 56% unfavorable.

President Obama however is doing pretty well.

PPP (6/6, 1/26 in parenthesis):

Do you approve or disapprove of President Barack Obama’s job performance?
Favorable 52 (49)
Unfavorable 43 (45)
Undecided 4 (6)
(MoE: ±3.1%)

That’s a net five point improvement from January, putting Obama at a 9 point favorable spread.

The title of this post may sound a bit like a prediction, “Minnesota is not a swing state… because Obama will easily win it in November.” That, however, is not that case. The title means what the title says, I’ll explain.

First of all, there are two different (and theoretically many more) ways to define what a swing state is. First, a state that tends to swing back and forth, or is perceived to have the possibility of swinging back and forth, between political parties. The second, is a state that could be the one that puts a candidate over the top.

Because he’s such a smarty pants, I’m going to quote Nate Silver on this definition of swing state:

The most rigorous way to define this is to sort the states in order of the most Democratic to the least Democratic, or most Republican to least Republican. Then count up the number of votes the candidate accumulates as he wins successively more difficult states. The state that provides him with the 270th electoral vote, clinching an Electoral College majority, is the swingiest state — the specific term I use for it is the “tipping point state.”

What I’m saying when I say that Minnesota is not a swing state is that Minnesota has no chance of being a “tipping point state.”

Mitt Romney, while certainly not the favorite, does have a chance of winning Minnesota in the fall. It’s not that Minnesota is a mortal lock for the Democrats and Republicans have no shot whatsoever.

But if Mitt Romney wins Minnesota, he will have won a landslide and Minnesota won’t have mattered anyway. If President Obama wins Minnesota it will have been expected and won’t matter anyway, because there will be more moderate states that he will need to also win.

Now if someone like Gary Johnson were to win Minnesota, well that would just be crazy.

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