Monday, June 02, 2008

Poll suggests new challenge for Walz in MN-01

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee engaged the Benenson Strategy Group to poll Minnesota’s First District and the surprising results reveal a new challenge for Congressman Tim Walz.
It’s a return of an old nemesis of the DFL – Apathy !

The poll results indicate Walz getting 57% of the vote with 21 % undecided. While an incumbent getting over 50 % is expected, it is overzealous to think that a Democrat could convert that many voters in a historically strong Republican district to support him. Republican Gil Gutknecht comfortably won the district repeatedly and his staff and polling did not anticipate a change for the 2006 election. In fact, a Majority Watch poll just days before the November election, indicated that Gutknecht held 50% of the vote to 47% for Walz. The final results were Walz in a 52% to 48% victory. My analysis is that Walz won by beating Gutknecht in Olmstead County … Gutknecht’s home turf. The primary issue to Rochester voters was Gutknecht’s support for the DM&E railroad. That issue will not dominate this year’s election. To think that Walz will not have a strong challenge promotes complacency.

While Walz has done a great job engaging voters through a variety of summits (on veteran’s issues, health care, economy, etc.) and is deserving of re-election, the battle will be to continually engage potentially apathetic voters. The Republicans have historically done an outstanding job to getting their voters to the polls, but the DFL continues lose elections by giving voters enough reasons to support the Republican candidates (Pawlenty, Coleman, Kline).

Apathy occurs when voters feel the outcome is already decided or the candidates on the ballot are not exciting. The US Senate race will certainly unite the Republicans, and with image being created for Al Franken, it may turn-off some Minnesota voters as they switch from voting based on issues (SCHIP, energy policy, tax policy, foreign relations, etc.) to personal issues.

While Walz may have adequate financial resources to counter the onslaught from the Smear and Sleaze 527 groups such as Freedom's Watch, Free and Strong America PAC, Defense of Democracies Action Fund, etc., his real challenge will be to continue to speak a message that engages voters.

My suggestion is that he needs to take his message beyond the First District.

IF you believe that Wind Energy is a critical part of the energy solution,
IF you believe that our veterans should have a 21st Century GI Bill,
IF you believe that the Invisible Wounds of War (PTSD, depression, suicide) need to be addressed,
IF you believe that there is a difference between Pork-barrel spending and justified transparent Earmarks in spending bills,
IF you believe that the punitive mandates of No Child Left Behind must be eliminated,
IF you believe that our health care system needs to serve the children of low-income families,
IF these are your issues, then supporting Tim Walz is not enough.

Although these issues are ones that Minnesotans care about, Walz is stymied in getting legislation enacted.
Why ?
The Republicans play games.
For example, the Supporting the Troops Game – while Walz voted in favor, Second District Congressman John Kline voted Present thereby ensuring that the funds required would not be authorized.
Further, Kline voted Against funding to expand veteran’s education. It extends the benefit for those serving in the National Guard who presently do not receive GI Education benefits. The GI Bill gets paid for by requiring approximately 500,000 taxpayers to have a surtax of 0.5% of couples earning more than $1,000,000 or individuals earning more than $500,000. Shockingly, Kline is a co-sponsor of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 which promotes the same benefits.

Games and a disservice to our country is what the Republicans are offering !

Supporting Tim Walz means electing people who share his vision. Walz may have a Republican challenger on the ballot, but to enact the necessary improvements in our government, Walz needs help in Congress. Returning John Kline to the Second District for another term will only result in more games. Steve Sarvi needs support … as does Ashwin Madia and Elwyn Tinklenberg

Walz should take the challenge of pushing his issues and defeating the Republican game-players in other districts. No doubt, Walz campaign organizers will not accept the Benenson poll and relax .. in fact, they should take it as incentive that Walz’s message is the right message and work to help elect more Democrats.

Voter Apathy is Walz's biggest challenge.

1 comment:

Ollie Ox said...

Great post.

Ollie Ox