The Minneapolis Star-Tribune‘s Minnesota Poll is infamous for overstating Democratic performance. Whether it is by sampling bias or methodology, the poll has consistently tended to overstate the performance of Democratic candidates in Minnesota.
Which is why, for the Obama campaign, having the Minnesota Poll showing Minnesota dead even should be a major worry.
Political campaigns are all about momentum. If Obama has to shore up support in Minnesota, that means less time and money to keep Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and other potential swing states in play. That gives McCain the advantage. If Minnesota is competitive, states like Michigan and Wisconsin are in play as well. Obama cannot afford to lose those states if he wants to win. McCain has the momentum, and so far Obama has been unable to wrestle it away from him. If McCain continues to pick up independent voters and Obama continues to flounder, the race could end up being a blowout.
This summer, it was looking like McCain had virtually no chance. Obama had the potential for a massive upset. Today, the electoral map has radically changed. McCain is picking up support in the key states he must hold, like Virginia, Ohio, Florida, and Indiana. He is putting pressure on Obama in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan. If McCain can hold on to Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico, he can win. If he can do that and peel off one of the “blue” states, Obama will be shut out.
This race keeps getting more and more interesting, and it will come down to whether McCain can hold his momentum through the next few weeks. Politics is continually fluid, and McCain could blow it or Obama could surge ahead. However, the trendlines now clearly favor McCain, and Obama is running a truly competitive race against a candidate who has displayed an astounding knack for knocking Obama off his feet. The idea that this election, which was looking to be a Democratic blowout, is now close goes to show just how good the McCain team has gotten after months of lowered expectations and near disasters.