Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Is Minnesota Different?

I just saw my first Obama ad on television. New York seems strangely insulated from much of the presidential campaign--it'll probably support Obama by large margins--even with the current economic crisis centered on Wall Street.

Minnesota, however, is a battleground state in the presidential race again. This always surprises me, just as its violent opposition to light rail and commuter trains surprises me. Has Minnesota suburbanized so much that it has lost its socially and politically progressive roots?

I mentioned to a colleague here in New York that Minnesota was historically very Democratic, and he was surprised. The last time Minnesota voted Republican in a presidential election was 1972 (Nixon vs. McGovern). Minnesota was the only state in the nation to carry Walter Mondale in 1984. It never voted for Reagan; in 1980 it was one of five states (with Hawaii, Georgia, Maryland, and West Virginia) to carry Carter. (There are some good electoral college maps here.)

Then again, the state that brought Paul Wellstone to the Senate turned around and voted for Norm Coleman. And it's put conservative Christian evangelical Tim Pawlenty in the governor's mansion twice--on an anti-tax platform; very un-Minnesota.

McCain has been outspending Obama in Minnesota--he doesn't want to lose the state they held the Republican Convention in--but according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune this week, Obama is ahead of McCain there 55 to 37. That's a big boost for Obama, who was neck and neck with McCain in September. The paper says:
Obama's surge in the state can be attributed to voters' belief in his ability to deal with the nation's worsening economy, his performance in the first presidential debate and an increase in the number of Minnesotans who call themselves Democrats.
But not all polls agree. USA Today's poll has McCain ahead of Obama in Minnesota by one point.

I doubt the miserable economy will help McCain rally in Minnesota and change more than 35 years of voting for Democrats, but I do think Norm Coleman will win again; I have little hope for the dud that is satirist-cum-politician Al Franken.

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Blogger Jenny said...

I'm wearing my Obama t-shirt at work today, under a sweater of course. I feel like a bit of a rebel. :)

I’m looking forward to seeing you again next month. I hope all is well in NY.

11:41 AM  

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