Friday, August 06, 2010

DFL thrives, doesn't just survive primary campaign

Last night's release of toplines from the final pre-primary KSTP/SurveyUSA poll are great news for Mark Dayton and for the DFL in general.

The conventional wisdom was that a long and contentious DFL primary would cripple whoever emerged and benefit Tom Emmer. That hasn't been the case. With rare exceptions, the DFL campaigns have been positive and taken the long view focusing on the general election. Independent expenditures have gone toward attacking Emmer instead of fueling internecine battles. The Republican gloating about early unity has been replaced by silence. DFL'ers are about to emerge from the period that presented the biggest risk relatively united, with minimal primary baggage, and with a lead over Tom Emmer regardless of who wins.

The polls provide evidence of this claim. All of the DFL candidates have trended upwards in each of the major polls. There are significant differences between the sampling methodology, polling methodology, and results between the 5 polling operations that have done work on the Minnesota governor's race (SurveyUSA/KSTP, Decision Resources/PiPress, Princeton/Strib, Rasmussen/Fox, NPR/Humphrey). But the one thing nobody can deny are that all the trends have favored the DFL. I've previously analyzed the Rasmussen trend, but the SurveyUSA trend is even more favorable for the DFL.

It's important to remember that the first SurveyUSA on this race in May was a disaster for the DFL and was trumpeted by the GOP. This time, it's crickets.

And with that - Dayton leads Emmer by 14 (MOE 2.7%). This is a 22 point improvement over a May 6 poll by SUSA.

Kelliher and Entenza both lead Emmer, but by much more modest margins (5-6%.)

Dayton's significantly outperforming Kelliher and Entenza in the primary portion of the poll as well. Unlike the Star Tribune poll with a very small sample and gaping 7.8% MOE, the SurveyUSA sample is of 500 likely primary voters and has a MOE of 4.4%. Dayton has extended his lead to 16 over Kelliher and 21 over Entenza.

It's entirely possible that this poll will be the equivalent "Dewey Defeats Truman" come Tuesday. It's very hard to poll low turnout primaries accurately. But in this case all of the trends are consistently showing Dayton steadily widening a lead he's held for months. And the other trend is even better if you are a DFL'er - consistent improvement while Emmer stumbles.

More analysis is always good - when you're done here, go check out Tony Angelo's take at MN Progressive Project.

Follow me on Twitter @aaronklemz

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