As we enter the the final week of Election 2012, a StarTribune Minnesota Poll has shocked more than a few people here and around the country:
As the presidential race tightens across the country, a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll has found that it is narrowing here as well, with President Obama holding a 3-point lead and Republican Mitt Romney making gains in the state.
The poll shows Obama with support from 47 percent of likely voters and Romney earning backing from 44 percent -- a lead within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
I'm not going to bet that a majority or even a plurality of Minnesotans will turn away from Obama this election, but that poll says it is a possibility. That feels about right to me this year, at least in my left-leaning first-ring suburb of Minneapolis. Let's go to one measure of enthusiasm, the yard signs.
My admittedly informal guess is that there are roughly half the Obama yard signs in my neck of the woods this year compared to 2008. Yard signs for any candidate for Congress, Republican or Democrat, are almost non-existent(both incumbents are Democrats), unlike the ubiquitous Ellison signs just two years ago.
There's a marriage amendment on the ballot here and "Vote No" signs are abundant in Minneapolis proper. They aren't even close in my neighborhood. I think I've seen only one "Vote No" sign on the Voter ID amendment around here. On the flip side, I've seen no "Vote Yes" signs for either amendment. That doesn't surprise me though. I think people are afraid to openly support either amendment as that politically correct position may invite abuse and unwanted attention. For the record, at this point I will vote for Voter ID, against the marriage protection amendment.
In 2008, Minnesota went 54-44% in favor of Obama. There is no way to spin a 47-44% poll this cycle as a good thing for Obama. It appears he has lost significant support and anecdotal evidence supports that, though I think it is still most likely that he will win the state. It's looks like it's going to be very close here, and that in itself is a surprise.