Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election

Twenty days out the Minnesota ‘cash cow’ is still blue

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Twenty days to go and the polls how Minnesota is leaning heavily towards Obama. FiveThirtyEight is predicting a 96.3% chance Minnesota’s electoral votes will go to President Obama, Politico has Obama at 49.3% compared to Romney at 42%, and the most current PPP poll shows Obama up by 10 percentage points. One exception is a poll by NMB Research that shows Obama with only a 4 percentage point lead, within the margin of error.  However, the poll was funded by the America Future Fund which is a conservative advocacy organization founded by Romney operatives. These results are similar to those from the previous couple of months. There has been little shift in opinion in Minnesota, and this is direct correlation to the lack of campaigning within the state,

Neither candidate is utilizing Minnesota as anything more than a cash cow. Obama has not stepped foot in Minnesota since July. Romney’s last stop was in August. Instead both candidates have sent representatives to rake in the money, like college students coming home for the weekend. Paul Ryan fundraised in Minneapolis last weekend, giving an eleven minute speech and charging $25,000 for a picture and private dinner. Although Ryan, who attended the event with his brother Stan, a Minnesota resident, talked about Minnesota’s likeliness to Wisconsin and harped on his experience in Minnesota as a young boy, the vice presidential nominee did not do any public events, thus, his words fell on the ears of those who are already willing to pay $1,000-$25,000 to hear them. Meanwhile, Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, will kickoff a short fundraising stint in Minneapolis this week, charging $100-$100,000 a seat at a private dinner. She will end up in Duluth at the end of the week. Again, there will be no free public events.

The lack of campaigning also means few advertisements. Minnesota was recently added to Obama’s national radio ad program, but that is the only ad buy from either candidate and there do not seem to be any coming in the near future. It can be assumed that Obama sees Minnesota as “in the bag” and Romney sees it as a waste of time. As mentioned in earlier posts, Republican efforts have been futile in past presidential elections and the state has voted democratic in every election since 1976. This year seems to be no different. According to Real Clear Politics, in 2008 Obama had an average 10 point lead in the weeks before the election. Obama currently has an average 8-10 point lead in current polls.

The only hope for Romney is that secret Republican Minnesotans will turn out to vote. This not completely improbable considering Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie announced over 100,000 Minnesotan voters have requested absentee ballots. As of October 11th, 41,208 have been returned. Minnesota historically has the highest voter turnout and since the voter ID amendment has yet to pass in the state, there should be relatively the same high turnout in twenty days.

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