One of the most high profile and competitive U.S. House races in the country appears to be going down to the wire – according to a new SurveyUSA poll of 643 likely voters in Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District.

The new poll, conducted October 26-27, finds Republican Erik Paulsen with a statistically insignificant 45 to 44 percent lead over DFL-er Ashwin Madia. David Dillon of the Independence Party registers at 9 percent.

SurveyUSA has been in the field three times in the Third District, and has shown little movement in the race. In its poll conducted three weeks ago, Madia led Paulsen 46 to 43 percent, with Dillon at 8 percent. It late August, Paulsen had a 44 to 41 percent lead over Madia (Dillon had not yet won the IP primary and was not listed in the survey question).

Dillon has attracted more Democrats than Republicans in both the early October (7 percent to 5 percent) and late October (10 percent to 4 percent) surveys. This helps to explain why Madia has not pulled ahead in a district that SurveyUSA finds has slightly more self-identified Democrats (34 percent) than Republicans (32 percent) and Madia leading Paulsen among independents, 43 to 39 percent. SurveyUSA also gave Democrats a two-point advantage (35 to 33 percent) in party identification earlier this month. Independents comprise approximately 30 percent of likely voters in the district.

While many experts are projecting support to peel away from Dillon (and Dean Barkley in the U.S. Senate race) at the last minute, benefiting the DFL candidates in each race, Smart Politics projects the core 10 percent supporting Dillon (and 15+ percent backing Barkley) are largely so frustrated with both major parties, and the negative campaigning its nominees have run in particular, that their support will hold steady. As a result, it is unlikely any candidate will eclipse 50 percent.

4 Comments

  1. Jeremy on October 29, 2008 at 9:41 am

    Dillon did not get 9 percent in this poll, becuase the three options in the poll were: Madia, Paulson and Other.



  2. Eric Ostermeier on October 29, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Yes, the SurveyUSA question wording, you are correct, is listed as ‘other’ in this poll, as opposed to listing David Dillon’s name, as it did in their poll earlier this month. Dillon is the only other candidate on the ballot, and it seems no matter how the question has been phrased, the likely voter support for a candidate other than Madia and Paulsen has been about the same:

    a) “Or some other candidate,” (9 percent) — late October
    b) “Or Independence Party candidate David Dillon?” (8 percent) — early October
    c) (no mention of a third choice) (10 percent) — late August

    SurveyUSA’s write-up, however, suggests the 9 percent ‘other’ in this poll is actually support for Dillon – and I have sometimes noticed inconsistencies with their question wording and write-ups in the past.

    Thank you for emphasizing this point, however. It will be interesting to see how much support Dillon receives on Election Day.



  3. rainman on October 29, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    From what I understand the poll showed Paulsen leading among young voters…I find this very hard to believe. I don’t put much credence in polls anyway….I prefer to study the candidates closely over a long time and it is apparent to me that Madia is the best candidate in this race. He’s the only one who will actually be able to “deliver” in this race, with Obama as our next President and a solid Democratic House and Senate…maybe we can finally get some decent legislation dealing with Health Care, proper funding for Education, and a true long term Energy plan.



  4. Peter Tharaldson on October 31, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    I awas put in charge of contacting SurveyUSA directly regarding teh questionaire. They were very very embarrassed and yanked the poll. They used the same questionaire they used for Roll Call many months a go. They are doing a poll for free for KSTP that should be done tonight. Tom Hauser was about as pleased as I was. Drives me nuts when they do not do homework.

    Peter Tharaldson