Can McCain Carry Minnesota?

One more headache for the reeling Barack Obama campaign: this morning’s Star Tribune Minnesota Poll has John McCain and Obama dead even in Minnesota, each with 45 percent of the vote. This is a stark reversal from May, when Obama led by 13 points.

Is Minnesota really in play? I’ve been dismissive of McCain’s chances of winning here, but the RNC clearly gave the Republicans a boost. I also think Norm Coleman is on his way to a decisive win over a weak opponent, Al Franken. Republican turnout should be high, and quite a few Democrats and independents won’t be pulling the lever for a straight DFL ticket. So it may be possible that McCain could actually carry the state, even without Governor Tim Pawlenty on the ticket. We’ll be able to judge whether the candidates’ own polling is showing results similar to the Minnesota Poll by the effort they put in here over the next 50 days.

UPDATE: In today’s Rasmussen survey, John McCain reaches the 50% threshold for the first time, while maintaining his three-point lead over Obama. In another interesting finding, more people–by a one-point margin that is no doubt statistically insignificant–now expect McCain to win the Presidency than Obama. This is a watershed, I think, in that it shows that people realize Obama’s campaign is sinking. From the beginning, Obama’s rise has relied more on a bandwagon effect than on any substantive accomplishments on the part of the candidate. With the bandwagon unraveling, Obama’s standing in the polls could fall quickly.

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