St. Louis county? But this is Minnesota not Missouri! (
by Tony Petrangelo
Oct 11, 2012, 7:00 AM

First public poll of MN-8 race shows a dead heat

There have been three Democratic internal polls of Minnesota’s Eighth congressional district race between incumbent Representative Chip Cravaack and former Representative Rick Nolan, two that I covered and one that I have not. Those polls showed the race tied or Rick Nolan out with an ever so slight lead.

The first public poll of the race shows essentially the same thing as the three Democratic internals.

SurveyUSA (10/10, no trend lines):

Chip Cravaack (R-inc) 45
Rick Nolan (D) 46
Undecided 9
(MoE: ±4.2%)

This is further confirmation that the internals are likely accurate, with the other bit of confirmation being the lack of response to those internals by either the Cravaack campaign itself or the various groups backing him.

Chip Cravaack is straddling the danger zone for an incumbent seeking re-election, he’s not getting blown out, but he’s also well below 50%. And the remaining undecided voters seem unlikely to vote for him over Nolan.

Looking at the cross tabs, undecided voters break out as 5% of self-identified Republicans, 8% of Democrats and 10% Independents. Additionally, 4% of Mitt Romney supporters are undecided in the race for Minnesota’s eighth congressional district, while 9% of respondents supporting President Obama are.

Both of these things indicate that there are more Nolan leaning undecided voters than Cravaack leaning undecided voters. And that is bad news for Chip Cravaack considering he is already behind by a point.

Further proof that Cravaack is in trouble:

AAN is putting $1 mil into IL-13, $1.8 mil into CA-10 (a crap-ton of money in the reasonably-priced Sacramento market), $600K into NY-27, $1.3 mil for NH-01, and a comparative pittance of $90K in MN-08, for a total of $7.5 mil. CLF is also $1.4 mil into OH-16, $750K into TX-23, and $500K in NC-07.

AAN, if you’re not familiar with that particular acronym, is the American Action Network run by none other than former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman.

Do you notice something about the above that strikes you as a little odd? $7.5 million dollars worth of ad buy announcements and only $90k for Minnesota’s eighth congressional district.

For a bit of perspective, that is eight total races that they are spending this money on, eight total races and Minnesota’s eighth district is getting just a tad more than 1% of it. And it’s not like the Twin Cities media market is cheap!

What this tells me is that they probably don’t really want to spend money on the race, but for whatever reason, whether it’s Coleman’s personal ties to the state or something else, they feel the need to keep a minimum engagement.

There are a few possible reasons why they wouldn’t want to spend money on the race, it could be that some other dark money group with cash to burn will step into the breach.

It could also be that Chip Cravaack is so far ahead that he doesn’t need the help. This actually seems like the least likely scenario, based on this poll and the internals we’ve seen.

The third possibility, the one that is looking increasingly likely, is that they don’t see a path to victory for Cravaack and are reallocating resources to more attractive races.

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