Some Good Poll News

Ann Coulter has a very funny commentary on the polls that somehow always seem to show the Republicans and President Bush doing worse and worse. Until, of course, we actually have an election:

Like callers to talk radio claiming to be Republicans angry with Republicans, liberals love to pretend public opinion is always in the process of shifting in their direction. They can’t win elections…. But they’re always experiencing an upswing in the polls.

[A]ccording to the polls, the public’s feeling about the war in Iraq began three years ago with fear, skepticism and dread – and steadily went downhill…Here’s a sample of New York Times headlines on stories discussing poll numbers since before the Iraq war began in March 2003:

– Poll Finds Most in U.S. Support Delaying a War (2/14/03)

– Opinions Begin to Shift as Public Weighs Costs of War (3/26/03)

– World’s View of U.S. Sours After Iraq War, Poll Finds (6/4/03)

– Study Finds Europeans Distrustful of U.S. Global Leadership (9/4/03)

– Despite Polls, Pataki Backs Bush on Iraq All the Way (10/3/03)

– Poll Finds Hostility Hardening Toward U.S. Policies (3/17/04)

– Support for War Is Down Sharply, Poll Concludes (4/29/04)

– Rising Casualties, One Falling Poll (5/2/04)

– Polls Show Bush’s Job-Approval Ratings Sinking (5/14/04)

– Bush’s Rating Falls to Its Lowest Point, New Survey Finds (6/29/04)

And then – despite the fact that every single man, woman and child in America opposed the war in Iraq and despised George Bush – a few months later, Bush won re-election against well-respected war hero John Kerry.

But that isn’t really the subject of this post. Rather, I wanted to note these data from Survey USA. Survey USA polled Minnesotans on their views of Senators Mark Dayton and Norm Coleman. The results, as to Coleman, are striking: 55% of Minnesotans approve, while only 38% disapprove. In a state that still has a plurality of Democrats, those are remarkable numbers. It’s also noteworthy that Coleman does even better with minorities: 56% with blacks, and 61% with Hispanics.

Those are numbers to conjure with if you’re thinking about a future national ticket. Norm is a tremendously talented politician. He is a genuine conservative, albeit not as conservative as we are.

Coleman and Governor Tim Pawlenty are the most talented politicians to emerge in Minnesota since Hubert Humphrey. With the Upper Midwest increasingly viewed as a swing region, either is a credible candidate for national office. Pawlenty, like Coleman, enjoys strongly positive approval numbers. I think he will easily defeat Attorney General Mike Hatch in November.

Which makes me wonder about the supposed Democratic sweep awaiting us in November. Minnesota will have two of the country’s biggest races: the open seat being vacated by Dayton, where Mark Kennedy (along, perhaps, with Michael Steele) is the Republicans’ best hope for a pickup, and the 6th District race for Kennedy’s House seat, which is on the Democrats’ list of races they need to win to seize control of the House. Given the lofty regard in which Pawlenty and Coleman are currently held by Minnesota voters, I wonder whether Republican candidates in this state, and perhaps others, are facing as uphill a battle as some believe.


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