Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election


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

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.

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The same-sex marriage debate in Minnesota; Social conservatives for Obama?

The same-sex marriage debate in Minnesota has become so heated even the Minnesota Vikings are involved. Last weekend former Vikings center Matt Birk published an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, opposing same-sex marriage. However, the real drama started when outspoken gay rights activist and Vikings punter Chris Kluwe and Minnesota Republican Rep. Mary Franson exchanged insults over Facebook and Twitter. Kluwe, who has previously made headlines with his obscenity-laced letter to Maryland legislator C. Emmett Burns, was accused by Franson as one of the main opponents of traditional values by whom she feels personally attacked. (You can read Chris Kluwe’s letter, which is in no way appropriate for this blog, here). Although another dirty letter has yet to surface, but Kluwe, in coordination with the LGBT advocacy group Minnesotans for Equality, has challenged Franson to a debate. No date has been set.

One date, however, has been set. On Nov. 6, Minnesotans will vote on an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution that would ban same-sex marriage. This amendment would effectively define marriage as strictly between one man and one woman and prevent the issue from being further discussed in Minnesota legislature. Opponents argue the amendment is unnecessary and simply a measure to tie legislator’s hands, since same-sex marriage is not already legal in the state. Minnesota is one of four states that will be voting on a same-sex marriage issue in November. The others, Maine, Maryland, and Washington, will reversely be voting towards legalizing same-sex marriages. If amended, Minnesota will join 31 other states with the same level of constitutional ban on same-sex unions.

So far thirteen cities have passed resolutions that publicly oppose the ban, however, the latest poll from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune found 47% of Minnesotan voters oppose the amendment, 49% favor it, and 4% remain undecided, an essential dead heat. Both the opposition and the proponents of the ban have been invested in the issue, raising $10 million in support collectively. Minnesota is also the first state to see ads on the issue. Minnesota for Marriage released two ads on Oct.1 in support of the ban. Frank Schubert, Minnesota for Marriage’s campaign manager, estimated the groups spending at $175,000 to run the ads throughout October. Minnesotans United for All Families, a group attempting to defeat the amendment, has run been running ads for the past two weeks.

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Ventura calls for Libertarian candidate to be included in presidential debates, Support for third party dwindles

The super PAC Libertarian Action recently funded a video featuring former Minnesota Gov., pro wrestler, and actor Jesse Ventura that calls for former two-term New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson to be included into the 2012 debates. Johnson’s name will be included on the ballot of all 50 states as the Libertarian presidential candidate, but so far there has been no third party candidate asked to join in on the Obama-Romney face offs of the upcoming weeks.

Ventura advocates for Johnson with two arguments. The stronger of the two, is the third party candidate as a “watchdog” during the debates. Ventura states, “Isn’t it time we allowed a credible third party candidate in the debates to tell Obama and Romney when they’re wrong?” Ventura’s other argument, however, is not what POLITICO writer Alexander Burns calls a “risk-free pitch.” Ventura tells viewers it was his own rhetorical finesse and debate skills that got him into office. Hopefully, this video is not a representation of that statement.

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Senator Klobuchar far ahead of Bills in Minnesota

It looks like President Obama is not the only one who has Minnesota “in the bag.” DLFer Senator Amy Klobuchar currently has a 29 point lead in Minnesota on her opponent, Republican Kurt Bills. Klobuchar has a 40% lead in Democratic urban areas such as Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth. She has also garnered the support of 57% of the electorate, a whopping 93% of the DFLers, 62% of Minnesotan women voters, and about half of the male voters. Bills slacks in comparison only drawing 28% of the Minnesotan population with the other 7% voting for someone else and the remaining 8% undecided. Bills, who used Ron Paul’ support to clinch the party nomination, has 66% of Minnesotan Republican’s support.

These numbers came from a poll of 800 likely voters between Sept. 17 and 19, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling for the Star Tribune. While Klobuchar’s campaign manager agreed with the polls saying “the numbers reflect her record,” Bills campaign manager disagrees. He claims the poll was unbalanced, with only 28% of the 800 likely voters being Republicans. Forty-one percent of the poll was Democratic, while the other 31% is independent. The independent voters could be an asset to Bills, however, interviews revealed even some of those who will vote for Romney on Nov. 6 are leaning heavily towards Klobuchar.

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