Polling in the 6th

RT Strategies and Constituent Dynamics — whatever that is — has a poll out that apparently has Michele Bachman leading Patty Wetterling fairly handily. Or, since no names are used, “Your name here” is ahead of “The other person.” The numbers include “weak” support for each candidate so I suppose there’s still some instability in the numbers.

  • Karl

    Bob, why say it has Bachmann beating Wetterling when, in fact, it does not? No names are listed for this race. The numbers look closer to the 2004 6th CD race, or the voter index for the district.

    RT Strategies is a DC polling firm comprising two guys:


    This wouldn’t be the first time their polling methodology was called into question:


    Constituent Dynamics is based in Seattle:


    On neither website do they explain why candidates names weren’t mentioned in the MN 6th CD.

    Cook’s Political Report, which does polling in conjunction with RT Strategies, lists the MN-6 race as “leans Republican” as of September 1, which according to their key means “These are considered competitive races but one party has an advantage.”


    That’s hardly “Michele Bachmann leading Patty Wetterling fairly handily.”

    It really serves no purpose even reporting those numbers if the candidates names weren’t even mentioned. Just because someone puts it out there doesn’t mean it’s news. My guess is at least 50% of those polled in the 6th couldn’t even name their current congressman without prompting, let alone express a preference for a new one. The fact that one name in the race is Michele Bachmann would be enough to drag her down a few points alone.

  • bill

    This poll seems pretty insignificant, what with the no-names and everything…

  • Bob Collins

    Karl. Look at it closely. You’ve got people who haven’t even been identified and STILL have 42% with a STRONG preference for the Republican.

    Does it gurantee anything? No, of course not. But it tells me that the Republicdans who were surveyed are going to vote for the Republican and the Democrats who were surveyed were going to vote for the Democrat.

    11% of the independents are leaning — weakly — toward Bachmann.

    I think the fact is that people know, basically, what a Republican is and basically what a Democrat stands for and based on that alone, people lean toward the Republican.

    Now, sure, it’s true that as people get to know individual candidates and their positions better, that could all change.

    Of course that assumes that people who are undecided as of September 6, actuallys tudy positions etc.

    I’d like to believe that. I really would. But this is a state that gave a party primary victory to a completely unqualified person for attorney general not long ago because her last name was Anderson.

    You may not like the results, bt it still says something about the race.

    By the way, I’ve seen nothing to indicate the fact Michele Bachmann is named Michele Bachmann is a drag on her candidacy. Sure, Democrats don’t like her. But this is the 6th District w’ere talking about here.

    Bachmann won her Senate seat in 2002 against another incumbent with 54 percent of the vote. At some point, it seems to me, some DFL strategiist somewhere is going to have to acknowledge that Michele Bachmann is a very formidable candidate and she knows a little something about campaigning.

  • http://michelebachmannmovies.blogspot.com/ Avidor


    Take a look at the Cucking Stool Blog:


    Read comments by and about Julie Risser, Green Party candidate in the SD-41.

  • Karl


    Look at the Bush approval numbers in the 6th in the same poll–48 percent disapproval, 47 percent approval. This, in a district that Bush won by a margin of 57-42 percent just two years ago. So you’re telling me the district is still going to vote for a candidate who is to the right of Bush? Someone who aligns herself with Bush at every opportunity?

    I think you’ve been had by publishing a poll with no names, Bob. It’s meaningless. I would expect that from Faux News, not MPR, even on a blog.

  • Bob Collins

    Oh, Karl, come on. Spare me the “I’d expect more from MPR” nonsense. The fact I call your attention to this doens’t mean it’s methodology is correct; it means it’s out there. You — and presumably other readers — are big enough to handle it and it’s not my job to shield your eyes from those things with which you disagree.

    If you think I’m saying a poll — any poll — will tell you what voters WILL do — and you must be because that’s what you wrote — then you don’t understand what polls tell you.

    Your comments sound very similar to the Kennedy folks when the subject of John Zogby comes up. They might be right too. They might be wrong. They’re most certainly colored by the fact the poll didn’t look good for their candidate.

    Let me tell you what I think is significant about the poll. At least 5 percent of the people who answered the poll didn’t connect Bush with the local candidate.

    Yeah, that’s a little significant.

    By the way, why did you dismiss the meaning of the poll, and then cite numbers out of it to support your point about Bush?

  • Karl


    That’s the problem with what passes for political reporting these days–at least from most “political reporters.” They just put out whatever campaigns say with no real analysis or background. There are some notable eceptions–Kessler’s Reality Check, for one.

    But “Here’s a poll from someone, whoever they are, about some unnamed candidates, whoever they are.” That’s not helpful at all.

    And why did you not address the fact that the poll says nothing about Bachmann leading Wetterling–it’s a nameless poll! These people did so little research into this race they thought there was a primary that would yet determine the candidates.

    Furthermore, how could 5 percent of the respondants not connect the name of the local candidate with Bush is the local candidate wasn’t even named?

    Yes, I do expect more from MPR. But you should be taking that as an overall compliment to MPR’s usual political reporting–as well as legitimate criticism for even reporting this nonsense.

  • Bob Collins

    I really don’t know how many more times I need to say that Polinaut is not political journalism in the sense you’re referring to. If you want the big vetted stories and analysis of the day, you need to go to the Campaign 2006 site — or any other news site of your choosing.

    Polinaut is based on the notion that YOU — not me — get to decide whether something is helpful or not. So I’ll pass things along that I first find interesting and think others may find interesting with the full knowledge that others may not find it helpful.

    But the fact that you don’t think it’s of any help only means that it’s not of any help to you. It doesn’t mean it’s not helpful to someone else.

    So, yeah, I get tired when folks trot out the old “I expect more from MPR” as if they’re listening to a reporter piece from Scheck or Pugmire or McCallum.

    So, OK, yeah, I accept I’m a lower life form than real journalists and I’ve cheapened the MPR brand. I’m a liberal DFLer. I’m in the pocket of the right wing. I don’t know what I’m talking about….blah blah blah.

    Perhaps this link will help:


  • Eric

    Yeah, well, I expect more from MPR. Run your own poll. Or make up numbers, and say it is a poll. No one will know the difference. Or check name recognition, Patty Bachmann vs. John Wetterling vs. Michele Binkowski. See if anyone responding is awake enough to say, wait a minute. Take a poll on how many firm Republicans vs firm Democrats would rather watch a political advertisement or a Budweiser one between innings in a Twins game. All very valid questions.

  • Bob Collins

    I don’t quite understand how making up numbers and saying it’s a poll is somehow helpful, but…

    Here’s the thing that nobody has grabbed onto so far.

    The 6th District is a Republican District. If Patty Wetterling is going to win, she has to convince some Republicans to vote for her; quite a few Republicans. And she has to, of course, get most Democrats to vote for her.

    Did you see anything in that “poll” that showed a tendency of Republicans to vote for a Democrat — or a tendency of Democrats to vote Republican? I didn’t. Does that mean they won’t? Or can’t? No, I don’t think so.

    And, by the way, Michele Bachmann has been the endorsed GOP candidate SINCE MAY!! Why no names were used in the poll I don’t know, but one also can’t say that the people who answered the poll didn’t know who the GOP candidate is/was or, for that matter, who the DFL candidate was since Wetterling has occupied that role since the middle of May.

    I don’t know if the poll is right or if the poll is wrong, but let’s just say I find it a jumping off point for a more intellectual conversation than an ad superimposing Michele Bachman over a nuclear blast.

  • etaoin shrdlu

    Here is a good source that discusses how the polls in question were done though it doesn’t deal with the “unnamed” issue:


    I do think that names were not used in the robo calls does seriously undermine whatever significance the poll may have had to begin with. As for Wetterling needing to get some Republican votes, I guess I don’t see it. According to the poll in question, the district is evenly split by party identification.

  • Bob Collins

    The 6th, especially since redistricting, IS a Republican District.

  • etaoin shrdlu

    The 6th district may have supported Republican candidates in the past, but the poll being referenced here is asserting that it is now evenly split. Or am I misreading the data displayed?

  • http://blog.lib.umn.edu/smit2174/cd6/ Pat Smith


    I think you are correct in reading the poll results, but Bob is also correct that the Sixth is a Republican-leaning district. I guess the poll shows either that there are a fair number of consistently Republican voters that like to call themselves “independents,” or that there is a similar fair number who voted Republican at one point but have now abandoned that label.

    So Wetterling does need to get some of those traditional Republican votes… but probably they will come from those who have voted Republican but consider themselves independent.

  • Karl

    I don’t know if the poll is right or if the poll is wrong, but let’s just say I find it a jumping off point for a more intellectual conversation than an ad superimposing Michele Bachman over a nuclear blast.

    So you think the results of a no-name poll is a more important topic of dicussion than the fact that a congressional candidate (Michele Bachmann) issued the threat of using nuclear weapons in response to Iran’s nuclear program? Please.

    That story came right from MPR, Bob. You should be proud! Besides Bachmann’s admission that her business and campaign provide no health care for their employees, it’s one of the best stories to come out of the 6th CD race. Bachmann’s cavalier use of the “nuclear response” should be a topic of every discussion with her.

  • http://michelebachmannmovies.blogspot.com/ Avidor

    Bob Collins: “I find it a jumping off point for a more intellectual conversation than an ad superimposing Michele Bachman over a nuclear blast.

    Bob, you must be referring to this movie:


    That’s called satire… a time-honored political tradition.

    I think if Thomas Nast were alive today, he’d be posting videos on You Tube.

    You Tube political videos might be a good topic for Polinaut.

    This is my favorite You Tube video:


  • Bob Collins

    I think if you take the time to go back and read Polinaut from the very beginning, you’ll find that I posted on Bachmann’s appearance when she talked about the nukes.

    BTW, the ad may have been satire, it just wasn’t very good satire because it stole someone else’s.

  • http://michelebachmannmovies.blogspot.com/ Avidor

    “…it just wasn’t very good satire because it stole someone else’s.”

    It’s not stealing, Bob.. Artists create juxtapose new imagery onto old imagery….that’s the essense of satire… and it’s protected by Constitution.

    Read this:


    “Satire is a centuries-old type of literature that uses humor and imitation to attack and ridicule individuals’ moral and character flaws, such as vice, unfairness, stupidity or vanity.

    A parody is also an attack on folly, but it takes the form of a contemptuous imitation of an existing artistic production — usually a serious work of literature, music, artwork or film — for satirical or humorous purposes.”

  • Bob Collins

    Well, YMMV but I didn’t think it was all that good, probably because I was around for the original and the original, frankly, was much more powerful.

    Let’s just say I didn’t mistake it for JibJab. (g)

  • http://michelebachmannmovies.blogspot.com/ Avidor

    Let’s let the readers decide.

    How about a Polinaut poll:

    What’s your favorite video on the internet about Minnesota Politics?

  • Bob Collins

    Fine with me, but better put some nominees in there. I’d also make it best satire vs. video. That way bushboy.com would qualify. Although I don’t think it’s around anymore.

  • rita

    My guess is that most people won’t vote for a woman who supports pediphillic books in elementary schools as does Wetterling