A Minnesota Public Radio - St. Paul Pioneer Press poll shows Minnesotans have no
clear favorite for president. If the presidential election were held today,
Republican John McCain would likely defeat Democrat Al Gore in Minnesota by a
narrow margin. But Gore would edge out George W. Bush if the Texas governor were
the Republican nominee. Yet, while McCain enjoys a slight edge among Minnesota
voters in the general electorate, Bush is the clear favorite among Minnesota
THE TELEPHONE SURVEY
of 641 registered voters around the state shows Democratic
Vice President Al Gore with a 43-40 percent victory over Texas Governor
George W. Bush. But if John McCain were the Republican Party's nominee, the
survey suggests the Republican could take Minnesota's ten electoral votes,
44-40 percent. Both results are within the poll's four-percentage-point
margin of error, making both races virtual toss-ups.
The picture is more clear-cut within the parties. The survey didn't identify
those who are likely to participate in the precinct caucuses, the first step in
the process of choosing national convention delegates. But survey participants
who usually vote Democratic favor Gore over former Senator Bill Bradley 59-25
Macalaster College professor and former St. Paul mayor George Latimer says he
joined Bradley's campaign out of admiration for his clear thinking and
commitment to racial harmony. He says a lack of animosity toward the Gore
campaign by Bradley supporters has also meant a lack of intensity.
"Maybe Bradley's candidacy would have greater energy if there were more
anger or dislike of Gore but frankly that's not the way I've seen it at my
limited activity in Minnesota," Latimer said.
On the GOP side, despite McCain's popularity in the general electorate, likely
Republican voters prefer Bush 49-31 percent. University of Minnesota
political science professor Steve Smith says McCain's "outsider" image is
responsible for the paradox. McCain has alienated his own party by even
publishing the names of other Republicans he accuses of pork barrel spending,
even as that same maverick image has charmed many independent voters.
Smith says Minnesota voter responses to McCain are mostly in line with national
figures, despite the fact that McCain has no campaign organization in the state
to speak of. But Republicans in Minnesota and around the country are solidly
Reform Party contender Pat Buchanan made only a slight three to four percent
showing in the hypothetical match-ups, not enough to assure the party of
retaining major party status in the state through the next election cycle.
Gore also received a disproportionate number of votes from women, while men
preferred McCain or Bush. Political analyst Steve Smith says the poll results
show a widening of the gender gap that emerged under Clinton, with more women
voting Democratic, possibly out of support for legalized abortion or social
programs affecting women and children.