Wednesday, September 15, 2004


The Minneapolis Star Tribune has a poll showing John Kerry leading President Bush by 9 points in the state of Minnesota. Republicans from Minnesota have criticized the Star Tribune's "Minnesota Poll" for widening the gap between the amount of Democratic and Republican responses.

The Minnesota Poll website states that 1,035 voters were questioned for the poll. However, the website does not break down how many of those questioned are Democrats, Republicans and independents.

The Galvin Opinion inquired of the polling data and this is what we found out by the response to our email request...

To: Minnesota Poll
From: Galvin Opinion

I read with interest about your poll that has Senator Kerry up 50%-41%

I saw that you interviewed 1,035. I was wondering if you could tell me
how many were Republican, Democrat and independent?

Thank you very much

Here's the reply

Dear Mr. Galvin:

DFLers (that's Democrats in Minnesota) represent 36 percent of likely
voters in the poll; the 2000 VNS Exit Poll showed 35 percent of the
electorate were Democrats. Republicans represent 28 percent of likely
voters in the poll; in 2000, the exit poll showed the GOP with 31
percent of the electorate. Independents represent 36 percent of the
sample; in 2000, the exit poll found that 34 percent of voters were
independents. All percentage comparisons between the current poll and
the 2000 exit poll are within the margins of sampling error for the two

Thanks for your interest in the Minnesota Poll.

Rob Daves, director
Strategic & News Research
The Minnesota Poll
Star Tribune
Minneapolis MN

The 2000 election saw Democrats outnumber Republicans by 4% while this poll has the difference at 8%. Therefore, a 4% swing in partisan voters can be construed as somewhat inflating Kerry's standing in Minnesota.

Taking a new look at these results does not accuse the Minnesota Poll of bias but it helps us and our readers have a better sense of what the poll results really mean.

In conclusion, it's best to keep these numbers in mind when reading the following...

Minnesota Poll: Bush inches up on Kerry
Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune
September 15, 2004

- On the eve of President Bush's bus tour across Minnesota, a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll shows him potentially gaining ground on challenger John Kerry in what has long been a reliably Democratic state in presidential elections.

The poll, conducted Sept. 7-13, found that Kerry has the support of 50 percent of likely voters in Minnesota, while Bush has the support of 41 percent.

The president's support has increased by 3 percentage points from the level he had in March, the last time the Minnesota Poll measured support for the candidates, while Kerry's support remained unchanged.

Kerry's lead over Bush is wider than in other recent statewide polls, which have ranged from a tie to a 7-percentage point lead.

But the narrowing of the race in Minnesota is consistent with polls in several battleground states conducted since the end of the Republican convention, which have shown that Bush has opened up a substantial lead in some, while inching up in states where Kerry has long been comfortably ahead.

"This suggests that Kerry has gotten his feet back under him," said Larry Jacobs, who directs the 2004 Elections Project at the University of Minnesota's Center for the Study of Politics.

"It's a little higher than I've seen in some other polls, but it doesn't strike me as outrageous," Jacobs said.

Here is the rest of the Minneapolis Star Tribune article via the Scripps Howard News Service

Update: We got a Star Tribune account (subscription required website) and found there is more to the story than what is published on the Scripps Howard website

Ron Eibensteiner, chairman of the state Republican Party, called the poll results "laughable. Not only is Minnesota still in play, it will remain in play until Election Day."

Last week, Eibensteiner called on the newspaper to fire its longtime poll director, saying the poll consistently favors Democratic candidates. The latest poll results are "what I expected and why I had my press conference last Friday," he said. "A flawed methodology means that the results will be flawed. I'm not surprised in the least."

He said the party's own polls have shown a dead heat in Minnesota. "We're either up by one or down by one and it's been that way since the convention," he said.

Said Star Tribune Editor Anders Gyllenhaal: "There's a long and unfortunate history of political parties attacking the newspaper when they don't like the news. This poll is based on exhaustive research that reaches the highest standards. To suggest the Star Tribune is aiming for anything but accuracy and precision with its polling is ridiculous."


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