WASHINGTON – The contest in Minnesota’s 6th District is already shaping up to be the most high-profile congressional race in the state next year. In a highly unusual move, incumbent GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann has already begun airing ads while DFL challenger Jim Graves, who first challenged Bachmann last year and came within 4,300 votes of ousting her then, already has the support of national Democrats and is aggressively raising money.
Now, the Graves camp is touting a poll from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling that shows Graves slightly ahead of Bachmann, 47 to 45, although within the poll’s 4.4 percent margin of error, 18 months ahead of election day 2014.
PPP has established a reputation for accuracy although readers should always treat internal polls released by campaigns with some suspicion, since the candidate paid for the poll and is trying to favorably spin its findings.
If the results are to be trusted, Bachmann’s public image appears to be the issue harming her because 76 percent of the respondents identified themselves as moderate to very conservative. A majority of those surveyed, 51 percent, viewed Bachmann unfavorably while 44 percent had a favorable impression of her. Bachmann performed particularly poorly with female voters, with just 38 percent saying they would cast a ballot for her compared to 50 percent for Graves.