KSTP/SurveyUSA POLL: Upset Brewing in 8th District? | www.WDIO.com

KSTP/SurveyUSA POLL: Upset Brewing in 8th District?

Tom Hauser
KSTP

October 16, 2014 10:21 PM

Millions of dollars have been spent by the candidates and outside political groups in Minnesota's 8th Congressional District and now we know why. 

In our exclusive new KSTP/SurveyUSA poll, Republican challenger Stewart Mills leads incumbent Democrat Congressman Rick Nolan 47 percent to 39 percent. Another four percent support Green Party candidate Ray Sandman and 11 percent are undecided. 

"This is a shocking poll and may suggest we have Oberstar all over again," said University of Minnesota political scientist Larry Jacobs, referring to longtime Democratic incumbent Jim Oberstar's loss to Chip Cravaack in 2010. "Clearly Mills is benefiting from a fundamental change in the 8th District that is trending in the Republicans' direction."

Jacobs says the 8th District is changing as the population shifts from the more liberal Iron Range part of the district to more conservative northern suburbs of the Twin Cities. Recent re-districting also moved some voters from the conservative 6th District represented by Michele Bachmann to the 8th.

Our poll shows Nolan's job performance approval rating is only 38 percent. Jacobs says that might be due to his support for "Obamacare" and for what some see as shifting stands on the Polymet mine project.  "Whether it's Polymet or Obamacare these are issues that voters care about and they're decisively breaking against Congressman Nolan," Jacobs notes.

The poll shows 56 percent of 8th District "likely voters" disapprove of the "Affordable Care Act," also known as "Obamacare." Meanwhile, 55 percent say the Polymet mine should get government approval.  Voters who disapprove of "Obamacare" and favor the Polymet mine overwhelmingly support Mills.

Mills also has a decided advantage among independents, leading Nolan 58 percent to 29 percent. Mills retains 81 percent of GOP voters while Nolan has 78 percent support among Democrats.

Our poll of 555 "likely voters" was conducted between Oct. 9 and 12. The sampling includes 34 percent Democrats, 29 percent Republicans and 31 percent independents. By comparison, the Cook Political Report's "Partisan Voting Index" rates the Minnesota 8th District as a +1 in favor of Democrats.

The margin of error in our poll is +/-4.2 percent. That means Mills could be as high as 51 percent or as low as 43 percent. Nolan could be as high as 43 percent or as low as 35 percent.

In 2012, Nolan beat Cravaack by nine points, 54 percent to 45 percent. In 2010, Cravaack beat Oberstar 48 percent to 47 percent with two other candidates taking five percent. President Obama beat Mitt Romney in the 8th District by six points in 2012.


Credits

Tom Hauser
KSTP

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