Minnesota has crept into the news cycle recently with senior campaign surrogates stumping in the state and campaign dollars flowing to a state once thought out of reach for Republicans this cycle. I received a lot of push-back over my conclusion regarding Minnesota’s competitiveness based on Rochester, Minnesota being a top 10 ad market this week. Upon closer inspection, however, the evidence keeps piling up that the Land of 10,000 Lakes should be on everyone’s radar for an election night surprise.
The point of running these scenarios is the initial read of an Obama 10-point lead based on a D +10 party affiliation is folly. With Undecideds factored in that lead drop to 8 even in this unrealistic scenario. If there is no party affiliation shift from 2008 despite the overwhelming evidence provided, Romney is only down 2.8 points with an unconsolidated base (think a visit might help?) as well as conservative estimates on Undecideds. If, however, Republicans have burnished their brand and the enthusiasm issue is as meaningful as polling would indicate, the decades-long steady rise in Republican performance in Minnesota should deliver a victory for Romney on November 6. Enhancing every one of these scenarios is the prospect of a decided national popular vote victory for Romney evidenced by the national tracking polls from Gallup and Rasmussen Reports. If that happens, deep purple Minnesota will turn red on election night.
Minnesota is something of a tease. It always shows some traces of red every presidential election then always is an easy win for the Blue Team. But there are all these reasons cited for MN to turn red, I add one more: Gay marriage is on the ballot in Minnesota this fall. Here’s pro and con websites. The polls show a virtual tie on this amendment. Gay marriage issues tend to bring out the social conservatives more than their opponents. So there could be a close election. Few social conservatives will vote for the President.
If Minnesota goes red, the race is probably over, especially if Wisconsin joins her in the red column. There is a recent new poll showing President Obama with a bare 3 point lead. Election night ought to be interesting.