Rassmussen has released its latest poll on the Minnesota Senate race, showing Mark Kennedy and Amy Klobuchar still within the margin of error, but with Klobuchar leading by 3%. The poll shows some trouble for Kennedy:
Klobuchar is viewed favorably by 57% of likely voters, unfavorably by 29%; 14% are “not sure” what to think of her. Kennedy is viewed favorably by 46%, unfavorably by 41%, with 12% “not sure.”
Democrats are somewhat more enthusiastic about Klobuchar than Republicans are about Kennedy. Eighty-two percent (82%) of Democrats view Klobuchar favorably; 50% view her “very” favorably. By contrast, Kennedy gets thumbs up from 72% of Republicans, only one half of whom (36% of all GOP voters) view him “very” favorably.
That isn’t too surprising – the Democrats are motivated this year. The campaign hasn’t really begun, but it’s clear Kennedy is the one who needs to work the hardest to gain momentum. Some of the shine around Klobuchar will likely come off once the campaign begins – she’s not a particularly effective campaigner and she has the benefit of not carrying around much political baggage at this point. All of that gives Klobuchar an initial advantage, but when the campaign begins in earnest anything could change.
Right now Kennedy’s numbers are likely depressed. There is a significant fraction of the Republican voting bloc that is angry at the GOP Congress for failing to enact significant spending and immigration reforms – and that means that while the Democrats are motivated to support their candidates, the Republicans are not.
With only 7% undecided, the Kennedy campaign needs to concentrate on securing their base. Kennedy needs to come out strongly on fiscal transparency and immigration enforcement. With a deficit of only 3% and weak numbers with his own party, Kennedy can easily close the gap if he can motivate GOP voters to support him. Klobuchar will be a difficult candidate to beat, but with only 7% undecided, she’s going to have a tough time building her numbers – while Kennedy still has some room to both improve his own standing and potentially steal some support for Klobuchar. That’s a tall political order, and Kennedy is certainly down, but he’s far from out.