The Tarrance Group’s latest polling on the Westrom-Peterson race isn’t good news for Collin Peterson:

The Tarrance Group is pleased to present the following findings from our recently completed telephone survey of N=300 registered “likely” voters in Minnesota’s Seventh Congressional District. The Tarrance Group was commissioned by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) to conduct a telephone survey in this district. A random sample of this type is likely to yield a margin of error of +5.8% in 95 out of 100 cases. Responses to the survey were gathered October 12-14, 2014.

Torrey Westrom has pulled ahead in the race for the congressional seat long held by DFL incumbent Collin Peterson. Westrom has made steady improvement throughout the campaign and now eclipses the incumbent. Turnout modeling puts the race at 48% Westrom and 46% Peterson, with only 6% undecided. Those undecided voters do not seem likely to break toward an incumbent they know so well.

With a margin of error of 5.8% and with the race being this close, this race is anything but settled. Also, it’s always wise to question private partisan polls. Still, this can’t give the Peterson campaign comfort.

It’s noteworthy that the KSTP-SurveyUSA poll showed Peterson leading 50%-41%, with a distinct oversampling of Democrats:

Sen. Westrom has fought a great campaign. He’s raised the money to be competitive. He’s travelled the district to increase his name recognition. He’s enunciated a message that’s resonating with voters. In short, he’s given Peterson a legitimate reason to worry.

It isn’t accidental that the DCCC has spent a few fists full of money on advertising. That advertising has mostly focused on criticizing Sen. Westrom for his alleged role in the Dayton government shutdown. Prior to this partisan private polling, this already figured to be Peterson’s toughest re-election fight yet.

That fight just gained in intensity. The thing is that the DCCC has already thrown the kitchen sink at Torrey. They don’t have many bullets left in the clip.

Entering this summer, conventional wisdom was that Stewart Mills had a better shot at defeating Rick Nolan than Torrey Westrom had of defeating Collin Peterson. That’s mostly due to the fact that Rick Nolan wasn’t the top-tier candidate that Peterson was. Apparently, Peterson isn’t as popular in the district as his recent election numbers indicated.

Going into this summer, I thought Republicans would win either defeat Peterson or Nolan. I didn’t think they’d defeat both of them. I still have trouble believing that they’ll accomplish that feat but it’s definitely a better possibility today than a month ago.

If Republicans flip both seats, it’ll be bad night for the DFL and for Nancy Pelosi.

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