Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Jul 30th, 2010

Updated October 31, 2010 (scroll down for latest results)


SurveyUSA Poll: Bachmann Ahead Of Challenger Clark


By Katie Lynn
July 13, 2010

The first significant poll in the 6th District Congressional race contains good news for Michele Bachmann but it also gives Tarryl Clark reason to hope she can make a breakthrough in a tough district for Democrats.

The results of our exclusive KSTP/SurveyUSA poll show Republican Michele Bachmann with a significant lead, but with Democrat Tarryl Clark within striking distance.

In the poll conducted Friday through Sunday [July 9-11], Bachmann gets the support of 48 percent of likely voters surveyed. Challenger Tarryl Clark gets 39 percent. Independence Party candidate Bob Anderson is at six percent [and unaffiliated independent Aubrey Immelman at 2 percent] with very few [5 percent] undecided voters.

The SurveyUSA poll results come less than a week after Bachmann reported she’s now raised $4.1 million. Clark is now at $2.1 million but so far only Clark has spent money on television ads in the race.

Clark has been running TV ads attacking Bachmann’s comments about the BP oil spill, which might be keeping Clark within single digits.

University of Minnesota political science professor Larry Jacobs says Clark and Bachmann are tied among voters 50 and older, who tend to turn out at the highest rates. However, Bachmann has a 20-point lead among 18 to 49 year olds.

There’s also a huge gender gap. Bachmann has a 25-point lead among males while Clark leads by eight-points among women.

Jacobs points out the fact Bachmann is short of the 50-percent mark gives Clark some hope, but when Bachmann begins running her TV ads, she’ll make a big effort to define Clark as a tax-raising Democrat. …

To view the full results of SurveyUSA, click here.



The table below reports data from the two available surveys of the U.S. House race conducted thus far during the 2010 election cycle in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District.

                                                        Bachmann  Clark  Anderson  Immelman  Undec’d
Public Policy Polling (Dec. 17-20)    55            37           —                —                  8
KSTP/SurveyUSA (Jul. 9-11)            48            39            6                 2                  5

Comparison of the December 2009 and July 2010 poll results shows that Independence Party nominee Bob Anderson and unaffiliated independent candidate Aubrey Immelman (Bachmann’s 2008 Republican challenger) are jointly shaving about 8 percentage points off Bachmann’s poll numbers.

Specifically, Bachmann shed 7 percentage points from the first poll to the second. That can be accounted for by the combined 8 points in the second poll for Anderson and Immelman, two conservative candidates whose names did not appear on the first survey.

In addition, Clark’s 2-point gain since the first poll comports with the 3-point reduction in the Undecided column. It is plausible that Clark’s active campaigning and improved name recognition since the first poll accounts for the reduction in undecided voters.


Analysis by Eric Ostermeier of Smart Politics, the blog of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs

Inside the SurveyUSA Poll of Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District

By Eric Ostermeier
Smart Politics
July 13, 2010


SurveyUSA’s recently released poll of the 6th Congressional District matchup in Minnesota between Republican Michele Bachmann, DFLer Tarryl Clark, IP nominee Bob Anderson, and independent Aubrey Immelman made headlines across the state. …

The poll of what is shaping up to be one of the top two or three most expensive U.S. House races in the country was conducted of 565 6th CD likely voters and had a margin of error of 4.2 points.

Bachmann supporters will tout their candidate’s nine-point lead in the survey, 48 to 39 percent over Clark, while advocates for the DFL nominee will point out she is only down by single-digits in a GOP leaning district, in a GOP-trending year, and with a 2:1 deficit in funds raised to date compared to the Republican Congresswoman.

Bob Anderson and Aubrey Immelman, polling at 6 and 2 percent respectively three and a half months out from Election Day, will no doubt highlight the fact they are receiving an infinitely higher percentage of the vote for the amount of money they have raised compared to Bachmann and Clark.

While the media, political junkies, and activists in one camp or the other are scrutinizing the latest results, the new SurveyUSA poll does raise some interesting questions.

First of all, the SuveyUSA organization has a very accurate track record, including in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District.

In SurveyUSA’s poll taken just a few days before the 2008 6th CD contest between Bachmann, DFLer Elwyn Tinklenberg and then independent candidate Anderson, the organization practically nailed the Election Day outcome.

That poll, conducted October 29-30, 2008 of 625 likely voters, had Bachmann at 46 percent, Tinklenberg at 45 percent, and Anderson at 6 percent, with 3 percent still undecided.

The election results a few days later: Bachmann at 46 percent, Tinklenberg at 43 percent, and Anderson at 10 percent.

Given the closeness with which the late October 2008 SurveyUSA poll tracked that November’s vote, there are some interesting differences between that sample and the new July 2010 survey. …

In the October 2008 survey, 74 percent identified with one of the two major political parties: 41 percent Republican and 33 percent Democrat. In the July 2010 survey, just 64 percent identified with the major parties: 36 percent Republican and 28 percent Democrat.

The percentage of self-identified independents was just 23 percent in the October ‘08 survey and 31 percent in July ‘10.

The decline in identification with both major parties — and the accompanying rise in identification as a political independent — should come as no surprise for those tracking the dissatisfaction among Americans with both Congressional Democrats and Republicans in the extremely partisan 111th Congress.

The big difference in 2010, however, is that Bachmann is receiving the support of 46 percent of independents, compared to just 35 percent in the late October 2008 survey. …

It should be noted there were several demographic variables which demonstrated identical or virtually identical sampling in the two surveys. For example:

  • Guns: 57 percent of each poll’s voters were gun owners
  • Religion: 51 percent were regular attendees of church services in both surveys
  • Ideology: In the 2008 poll, 39 percent identified as conservatives, with 44 percent moderate, and 14 percent liberal. In the new survey, 40 percent identified as conservative, 43 percent as moderate, and 13 percent as liberal. …


9/17/2010 Update

Bachmann Maintains 9-point Lead Over Clark in 6th District

By Tom Hauser
September 16, 2010

nullIncumbent Republican Michele Bachmann continues to lead Democrat Tarryl Clark in the 6th District Congressional race. Both Bachmann and Clark gained one point since our last KSTP/SurveyUSA poll in July. However, that means Bachmann maintains a 9-point lead over Clark.

Independence Party candidate Bob Anderson gained the same 6 percent support he had in July.

[Note: The poll number for unaffiliated independent candidate Aubrey Immelman, not reported in the KSTP report, is 1% — statistically unchanged from 2% in July and consistent with the fact that Immelman has not done any campaigning beyond maintaining this blog. Just 4% of voters remain undecided.]



The table below reports data from the three available surveys of the U.S. House race conducted thus far during the 2010 election cycle in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District.

                                                        Bachmann  Clark  Anderson  Immelman  Undec’d
Public Policy Polling (Dec. 17-20)    55            37           —                 —                 8
KSTP/SurveyUSA (Jul. 9-11)            48            39            6                  2                  5
KSTP/SurveyUSA (Sept. 13-15)        49           40            6                   1                  4

Comparison of the July and September 2010 poll results shows that Independence Party nominee Bob Anderson’s numbers have remained static at 6 percent, while both Republican nominee Michele Bachmann and DFL nominee Tarryl Clark have gained one point, which is statistically meaningless.

The internals of the poll show the Anderson is attracting 4 percent of the Republican vote, 4 percent of the Democratic vote, and 11 percent of the Independent vote, while Immelman gets 1 percent of the Republican vote, 0 (zero) percent of the Democratic vote, and 2 percent of the Independent vote (however, considering the poll’s margin of sampling error of ± 4.1%, Immelman’s numbers are essentially statistical noise).

In short, there is no compelling evidence that Anderson (6%) or Immelman (1%) is attracting significant support from respondents who might otherwise vote for Clark (40%), who polled at 37 percent in the December 2009 Public Policy poll, which did not include Anderson or Immelman as an option.

In contrast, Bachmann (49%) has lost ground since Anderson and Immelman joined the race, having polled 55 percent in the December 2009 Public Policy Polling survey.

In summary, with less than seven weeks to go before Election Day, the September KSTP/SurveyUSA poll results are unchanged from the results eight weeks earlier in July.

The table below is provided for the purpose of comparing the candidates’ current poll standings with the state of the 6th District race in the 2008 election cycle.

                                                             Bachmann  Tinklenberg  Anderson  Undecided
Public Opinion Strategies (Oct. 12-13)    44             33                     8               —
KSTP/SurveyUSA (Oct. 20-21)                 44             47                     6                2
MPR/UofM (Oct. 21-23)                            43             45                     5                 7

Bachmann is polling about 5 percentage points better than she did around this time in 2008, prior to her catastrophic interview with Chris Matthews on MSNBC “Hardball” (49% now compared with 44% in 2008).

Clark is polling 7 percentage points better than 2008 Democratic nominee Elwyn Tinklenberg at this point in the race (Clark 40%; Tinklenberg 33%). More important, however, Clark is polling 7 percentage points lower than Tinklenberg did in the immediate aftermath of Bachmann’s Oct. 17, 2008 “Harball” interview, when he led Bachmann by three percentage points in a KSTP/SurveyUSA poll.

Finally, Anderson is polling 2 percentage points lower than he did at this point in the race in 2008 (6% now compared with 8% in 2008); however, the dip is not statistically meaningful.

To view the full results of SurveyUSA, click here.


Six weeks out, calling the race for Bachmann

Michele Bachmann (R) and Tarryl Clark (D)

Following the release of the Sept. 13-15 KSTP/SurveyUSA poll, which shows now movement since the previous poll, conducted July 9-11 (with Bachmann maintaining a 9-point lead over Clark) some analysts and observers have begun calling the race for Bachmann.

The New York Times 538 model rates the probability of a Bachmann win at 95%.

And here’s Professor David Schultz of the Hamline University School of Business and Senior Fellow at the Institute on Law and Politics at the University of Minnesota law school, on his Schultz’s Take blog:

Millions Wasted: The Clark/Bachmann Race is Over

By David Schultz
Schultz’s Take blog
September 17, 2010

So the latest survey is in: Bachmann maintains a nine point lead over Clark in MN’s sixth district race. With only 47 days to go, a KSTP Channel 5 poll puts Bachmann at 49%, Clark at 40%, the third party candidate Anderson at 6%, and undecideds at 5%.

The poll reports that the lead is unchanged from the previous survey. Since then hundreds of ads and hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars have poured into the race. Yet nothing has changed. If anything, the poll suggests opinions and voting preferences are fixed and with 5% undecided, there is little in terms of swing votes to move.

The race is over. About a week ago I blogged about how Democrats are wasting money on this race and need to stop pouring money into it and shift it to the Third Congressional District (Jim Meffert) or other races across the country. This poll reinforces my point.

This is a GOP year in a GOP district. Bachmann will not be beat this year. The DCCC should exit gracefully from the race, donors should go elsewhere, and the Democrats should think about what they can win and hold in remaining weeks.


Final poll in Bachmann-Clark-Anderson-Immelman race

Results will be posted here when released.


Bachmann-Clark-Anderson debates (Immelman not invited)

Bachmann, Clark, Anderson finally debate in 6th District

By Tom Hauser
October 26, 2010

The debate in the 6th District Congressional race on Tuesday was the first between Republican Michele Bachman, DFLer Tarryl Clark and Bob Anderson of the Independence Party. For the most part, the debate was more tame than some thought it might be, but the candidates all managed to score some points.

Republican incumbent Michele Bachmann and DFL challenger Tarryl Clark have raised nearly $15 million dollars between them in the 6th District race. Their first debate, hosted by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, took place on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010.

Watch the story


Related reports on this site

MN-06 Primary Election Results (Aug. 11, 2010)

CQ Rates Bachmann’s Seat Safe (May 17, 2010)

MN-6 Poll: Bachmann Approval 53% (Dec. 22, 2009)

Poll: Bachmann Approval at 51% (Nov. 14, 2009)

Building a Non-Partisan Coalition (Aug. 5, 2009)

Can a Democrat Beat Bachmann? (July 27, 2009)

Bachmann Rated ‘Most Vulnerable’ (July 24, 2009)

Bachmann Faces Two-Front Fight (July 16, 2009)

MN-06: Who is ‘The Third Man’? (May 24, 2009)

Tinklenberg Challenger Speaks (May 13, 2009)

How to Beat Bachmann (May 9, 2009)

Bachmann Steady Post-Hardball (Oct. 25, 2008)

Poll: Bachmann Base Holds Firm (Oct. 24, 2008)

After the Election: Day 1 (Sept. 10, 2008)

FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — July 30, 2009

Image: Troops in Iraq
Iraq memo declares victory, stirs controversy (MSNBC “Andrea Mitchell Reports, July 31, 2009) — A memo written by Col. Timothy Reese, which urged U.S. military commanders to “declare victory” and leave Iraq, is causing quite a stir amid continued deadly attacks on Iraqi civilians by insurgents. (02:43)

Iraq: ‘Declare Victory’ and Get Out

One-year retrospective: One year ago today, I featured a New York Times report that Col. Timothy R. Reese, a senior American military adviser in Baghdad, had concluded in an unusually blunt memo that Iraqi forces suffered from entrenched deficiencies but were able to protect the Iraqi government, and that it was therefore time “for the U.S. to declare victory and go home.” In his report, Col. Reese detailed Iraqi military weaknesses in scathing language, including corruption, poor management, and the inability to resist Shiite political pressure.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — July 30, 2008

On the Campaign Trail: Day 16

Aubrey Immelman listening to the water quality concerns of Little Rock Lake residents, July 29, 2008.

Two-year retrospective: Two years ago today, on the 16th day of my 2008 campaign against incumbent U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann for the Republican nomination in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, I attended the St. Cloud area joint town hall meeting with the mayors of St. Cloud, St. Augusta, St. Joseph, Sartell, Sauk Rapids, and Waite Park to learn about the concerns of area civic leaders; and attended the Little Rock Lake TMDL Public Meeting to learn about water quality issues on Little Rock Lake and efforts to mitigate phosphorus, the water quality limiting nutrient responsible for the toxic blue-green algae blooms in the lake.

3 Responses to “MN-06: Bachmann Clark Polling”
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