Poll: Hatch leads Pawlenty

The Star Tribune poll is out and shows that Mike Hatch has a 9-percentage-point lead over Tim Pawlenty. The last time the poll was conducted, the race was basically even. Peter Hutchinson came in at 7 percent. He’s not in a competitive state, but the good news for the IP is he’s, so far, got the vote to keep the IP considered a “major party.”

Now let me be clear here: I am not a political scientist. I can’t dissect this methodology from a statistics expertise. I can’t tell you this poll is right or wrong. What I can tell you is what I feel, what my gut instinct tells me. Up to now, it’s served me well.

I listen to the call-in talk shows, I even set the clock to get up and listen to the overnight talk shows on AM radio, I talk to people, I bend over in my chair at a restaurant to hear what people are saying, I listen to conversations at bus stops and anywhere else…where…there is one. I can’t detect that Tim Pawlenty is in this much trouble.

That’s not to conclude that he’s not. I’m just saying, the usual barometers that usually give me a clue that something’s up, are either not working… or they are. I won’t know until Election Day.

These numbers could mean that Republicans are the ones turning on him — there’s a few that aren’t all that happy with his breaking of the “no new taxes” pledge (spare me the “fee” talk, just because the DFLers agreed to call it a fee when approving the legislation, doesn’t mean that the voters are similarly obliged, or interested in the term.), but where are those voters going to go? Hatch? C’mon. And, besides, the same paper just wrote a story that what support exists for Klobuchar, isn’t adding up to support for Hatch. So something doesn’t add up there.

I do know this, however: if this poll is right and Pawlenty really is in this much trouble: the Republicans in the Legislature are in a huge mess.

  • Noman

    On the one hand, you are right that Pawlenty himself is not personally unpopular. But, on the other hand, there is not much doubt that Pawlenty is in trouble. This particular poll may overstate Hatch’s lead but other recent polls show him with a slight lead against the incumbent governor and that the DFL have the wind at their back in this election. I would much rather be in Hatch’s position than Pawlenty’s right now.

    As to why this is, I think it has to do with the general feeling that the Pawlenty policy of not allowing any tax increase to deal with the initial shortfall was a failure. Property taxes and fees went up anyway and the schools and local services suffered too much in the process. People want the government to spend more money on roads, education, and health care and they realize that Hatch is much more likely to do this than Pawlenty. I think the era of winning elections by campaigning against taxes is over.

    Another way of putting this is that in order to win Pawlenty has to pile up a lot of votes in the suburbs. His base is still there but it has eroded enough that he is in real danger of losing this election.

  • Ag


    I agree with you in general. I do the same typef listening you do, and my gut also tells me not to believe in this poll, but that normally goes with all polls. What the trends tell me though is Pawlenty is in trouble, and has been for a long time. The highest he has scored on any poll (I think) was 46%, but the average before this latest poll was in the low 40′s. That is bad for any incumbent. Hutchinson is going nowhere, and voters are figuring that out, so it may be logical that there is a move to Hatch.

    Hatch does have the momentum right now, and this poll only adds to it, but the game is far from over…