Could Mitt Romney win Minnesota?

A major poll shows the GOP candidate pulling close to Obama in the state where Democrats have their longest presidential winning streak

Mitt Romney thanks former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty for his endorsement on Sept. 12, 2011: The reliably blue North Star State may be turning purple this year.
(Image credit: AP Photo/Bruce Smith)

President Obama and Mitt Romney have been relentlessly focusing their campaigns on Ohio and other swing states expected to tip next week's election. But a new nonpartisan poll suggests that a traditionally Democratic state might suddenly be up for grabs. The survey, from Mason-Dixon for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, shows Romney trailing by just three points in Minnesota, which has a longer streak of backing Democratic presidential candidates than any other state in the nation. Could Romney defy history and snatch Minnesota from the Obama column?

Minnesota might really be in play: Minnesota is usually a "sucker bet for Republicans," says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. They thought they had a chance in 2000 and 2004, but both times the state went blue, as it has in every presidential contest since 1972. This year, however, we have a left-leaning poll showing Romney within real striking distance. No wonder "both campaigns are suddenly starting to spend money here" — "this state is in play."

"Virtual tie in... Minnesota?"

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No. Minnesota is still reliably blue: Another poll, the St. Cloud State University survey, offers a cold dose of reality for Romney fans, says Alexander Burns at Politico. The SCSU poll shows Obama up by eight percentage points. Even if undecideds break for Romney, "Minnesota looks like another Michigan or Pennsylvania — a big, Democratic-leaning state" the GOP wants to make competitive, "but where Romney doesn't see a clear enough route to victory to make more than a minimal investment."

"Minnesota poll: Obama 53, Romney 45"

Minnesota is drifting right, but probably not enough: Mason-Dixon is a solid pollster, says Nate Silver at The New York Times. Still, they're probably assuming a heavier GOP turnout than Romney's likely to get, so the rosier picture for Obama found in the SCSU survey is probably more likely. It's true that Minnesota is drifting "from the left wing of American politics toward the center, but its Democratic heritage is hard to overcome."

"Oct. 27: Minnesota moonlights as swing state, but Ohio and Virginia are more crucial"

Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

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