Category: Al Franken
Posted: 09/23/08 20:17
by Dave Mindeman
Dean Barkley is always a perplexing problem for Minnesota's pundit analysts. You see them on the Almanac couch with those matter of fact statements and more often than not, they are just plain wrong.
Conventional wisdom on the candidacy of Dean Barkley seems to revolve around the amount of votes that he takes away from Al Franken. But recent polling doesn't seem to match up with that assumption.
First, look at the last 3 polls without Barkley:
Sept. 21, Quinnipac Coleman 49, Franken 42
Aug. 14, Survey USA Coleman 46 Franken 39
Aug. 13, Rasmussen Coleman 49, Franken 46
Now, the last 4 polls that included Barkley:
Sept. 18, Rasmussen, Coleman 48,Franken 47, Barkley 3
Sept. 12, Star Tribune Coleman 41, Franken 37, Barkley 13
Sep. 11, Survey USA, Coleman 41, Franken 40, Barkley 14
Aug. 17 Humphry, Coleman 40, Franken 41, Barkley 8
With Barkley in the mix, the race is a virtual dead heat between Franken and Coleman. Without Barkley, Coleman gets a lead just outside the margin of error.
The Wall Street Journal
did an article about the Barkley effect. Here is some of the analysis:"Voters are sick of the nasty ads," said Mr. Barkley. "In a two-person race you can probably get away with it, but with a third viable alternative, there's a place to go. If you don't like what you're seeing, you don't have to put up with it."
Now, that is probably a fair assessment of why Barkley is getting some numbers. But where are those numbers coming from? After all, it is getting hard to know who is more negative, at least as to how the viewers perceive it.Mr. Barkley draws voters from both parties, but many observers see his candidacy as more threatening to Mr. Franken, who has struggled to consolidate Democratic support. "He is competing with Franken for the angry voter who disapproves of Bush and sees the country as off on the wrong track," pollster Larry Jacobs, a professor at the University of Minnesota, said after early polling.
Jacobs has been in the "Franken gets hurt more" camp for quite some time. But, those polling numbers...they don't add up to that conclusion.
But here is a quote that offers more of a clue:Mr. Barkley's emphasis on reducing the national debt may appeal to fiscal conservatives, but his opposition to the Iraq war and support of gay rights appeal to liberal voters. He says he is more than a spoiler, though, and points out that he is ahead of where Mr. Ventura was polling in the gubernatorial campaign 10 years ago.
The positions that Barkley emphasizes the most....reducing the debt...fiscal conservativism....opposition to the War....getting out of people's lives on social issues. Who does that remind you of?Ron Paul.
I think it is possible that Barkley is beginning to tap into that disgruntled segment of the Republican Party -- the Paulites. And who got the biggest reception at the Paul counter convention at the Target Center? Jesse Ventura.
There is a connection between these two groups. And with this massive federal bailout of the banks looming, look for that connection to grow even stronger.
Coleman is all over the place on the bailout. He is not giving the Paulites the strong fiscal response they want. The dissatisfaction of this wing of the GOP party may manifest itself in a big way. And it may happen in the Senate race more than any other.
The next round of poll numbers are going to be the Almanac pundit's nightmare. And when the debates begin, I suspect the numbers will be in bigger flux.
This could get real interesting.