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July 29, 2014

Minnesota: Polls Show 8th District Race Deadlocked

Minnesota: Polls Show 8th District Race Deadlocked

Rep. Chip Cravaack (above) faces former Rep. Rick Nolan in Minnesota's 8th district. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The battle for Minnesota’s 8th district is deadlocked, according to three polls released since Oct. 1, although survey data suggest that the Democratic challenger in this race has the momentum.

The nonpartisan SurveyUSA poll conducted Oct. 7-9 found the contest statistically tied, with former Rep. Rick Nolan (D) garnering 46 percent of the vote to Rep. Chip Cravaack’s (R) 45 percent. The poll surveyed 700 registered voters, including 578 who were also classified as likely to vote, and the poll had a margin of error of 4.2 points.

Of the people who said they would vote for President Barack Obama, 88 percent said they would vote for the officially endorsed Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidate, who happens to be Nolan. In the Democratic-leaning 8th district, this could mean trouble for Cravaack, who will need split-ticket voters to tip the scales in his favor.

Cravaack adviser Ben Golnik said, however, that the SurveyUSA poll showed that independent voters lean toward Cravaack, a sign they see as positive in the final weeks of the campaign.

“Despite millions of dollars of misleading and false attack ads from outside groups, Chip Cravaack will continue to communicate his positive pro-growth message to bring more jobs back to the 8th district,” Golnik said. ” This message is resonating – according to a public poll released yesterday, Chip Cravaack leads with independent voters by a 53-36 margin. Cravaack continues to pick up endorsements from Reagan Democrats and independents across the district.”

Additional polls conducted for the Democrats touted positive news for Nolan, who is seeking to represent the 8th district after a 30-year hiatus from Congress.

According to an internal poll for the Nolan campaign, the Democrat led Cravaack 48 percent to 44 percent. The poll surveyed 400 likely, registered voters Oct. 7-8, although the Nolan campaign declined to provide the margin of error.

That poll also showed a 61 percent positive job approval rate for Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D), who is currently polling way ahead of her Republican challenger, and running a well-oiled get-out-the-vote program, which political observers say could tip the scale in Nolan’s favor if he can successfully ride her coattails to victory.

Other positives for Nolan in his poll, which was conducted by the Democratic polling firm Victoria Research, included a 63 percent negative job approval rating for Cravaack, as well as voters’ belief that Cravaack will cut Medicare coverage, a message the Nolan campaign has been pushing.

“This poll confirms what has been obvious on the ground – as we head into Election Day, Rick Nolan has the momentum,” Nolan campaign manager Michael Misterek said in a news release. “Chip Cravaack and his allies have spent millions of dollars on misleading and dishonest advertising trying to spread false claims about Rick Nolan, but it’s clear their strategy isn’t working.”

Additionally, a poll conducted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Oct. 4-7 also showed the race tied, with each candidate receiving 42 percent of the vote. That poll, though, found that a generic Democrat has a 3-point lead over a generic Republican candidate, which bodes well for Nolan. The DCCC poll surveyed 405 likely voters and had a margin of error of 4.9 points.

Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.

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