Minnesota, Now In Play

Over the last couple of weeks we have toyed with the idea that Minnesota could be competitive in this year’s presidential election. While certain data have been tantalizing, on balance we have concluded that it just isn’t in the cards. Today, however, the Minnesota Poll finds that Romney has closed to within the margin of error. Obama leads 47%-44%, and the margin of error is 3.5.

So could Romney actually take Minnesota? It still seems unlikely, but at this point one has to conclude that it is possible. The Minnesota Poll has a history of being pretty far off base, always in the direction of Democratic candidates. But it is under new management, so that track record doesn’t mean much. Romney is picking up support everywhere, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that he is closing in Minnesota. Can he improve by another three or four points in the next nine days? Unlikely, but possible. Minnesota’s demographic profile may make that kind of surge more plausible here than in most other states.

In any event, both campaigns are now advertising in Minnesota, so they must think there is some chance the state could go red for the first time since 1972.