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October 14, 2010 / Candice

Polls Are Kinda Bad At Predicting Gubernatorial Races In Minnesota.

True North had an interesting post yesterday about what polls looked like three weeks prior to an election. If you remember the past few gubernatorial elections and who won them, you’ll see why poll numbers aren’t really clear indications of who will win an election. My favorite? Jesse Ventura’s poll numbers. Take a look.

These three polls were all released [today] – October 14 – exactly four, eight and twelve years ago.
2006 (source:,_2006)

Star Tribune Minnesota Poll – October 14, 2006
Hatch – 46%
Pawlenty – 37%
Hutchinson – 7%

2002 (source:

KSTP-TV Poll – Octboer 14, 2006
Penny – 34%
Moe – 30%
Pawlenty – 23%

From the AP article on this poll: “Democrat Roger Moe and the Independent Party’s Tim Penny are in a virtual tie in the race for governor, while Republican Tim Pawlenty trails close behind, according to a new statewide poll. The poll commissioned by KSTP-TV randomly surveyed 503 Minnesotans who vote regularly in state elections.”

1998 (source:

Minnesota Public Radio Poll – October 14, 1998
Humphrey – 44%
Coleman – 31%
Ventura – 15%

So, before you get too excited about Dayton being ahead of Emmer and Horner, you just might want to reconsider, or at the very least, stop using polls as your go-to argument for why he, or anyone, will win. Also, stop trying to live or die by poll numbers, they’re vague and more often than not, designed to get a desired result.


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