A University of Minnesota poll shows that President Bush and John Kerry are in a statistical dead-heat in Wisconsin and Minnesota. In a two-man race, Bush leads by 2.5 percentage points in Wisconsin; Kerry by about 3 percentage points in Minnesota. Both “leads” are within the margin of error. Kerry leads Bush by almost five percentage points in Iowa. Here’s the AP report via the Duluth News Tribune.
PoliPundit thinks, “This is big. While Iowa is a steep climb, Minnesota and especially Wisconsin are winnable. Wisconsin and Minnesota amount to 20 electoral votes, without which a Kerry victory is impossible.”
A few additional thoughts. First, Ralph Nader still has considerable support (about 4 percent) in these states. To the extent that many of his supporters are “undecided” in the polls, the races in Wisconsin and Minnesota may come down to whether these folks remain committed to Nader in November, as opposed to turning to Kerry. Second, these polls were taken between June 21 and July 12. At the back-end of this period, Kerry had a lead of up to 5 percentage points in some national polls. If Bush actually is highly competitive in Wisconsin and Minnesota at a time when he is lagging naionally, then his chances of capturing these states in a very close election seem pretty good.
Finally, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota are traditionally anti-war states, at least compared to the rest of the country excluding New England and the Pacific Northwest. If Bush is running fairly well in this region, it must be because good economic news there trumps concerns about the war. And that phenomenon certainly would be good news for the president.
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