WASHINGTON — Long-time readers know I generally hate reporting on internal polls for almost any reason. I said almost, and this is one of those exceptions.
When an online newspaper labeled the 7th District U.S. House race as “tight,” Rep. Collin Peterson decided to release polling showing him 34 points up on Republican Lee Byberg.
“I haven’t really done much polling, but this MinnPost.com story got a few people stirred up and they wanted me to release the numbers,” Democrat Peterson said in a telephone interview Friday.
“I don’t want to hear any more stories about winning by a razor-thin margin,” he said. “Thirty-four points is not razor-thin.”
Peterson led Lee Byberg 54-20 in the poll of 404 likely voters conducted by Global Strategy Group, a reputable firm that does a lot of polling for Democrats around the country. Two other challengers were at 5 percent with 16 percent undecided. The margin of error was 4.9 percent.
As we wrote last week, the normal indicators by which one typically judges a race (fundraising, partisan district makeup, national mood) point to a close race, but Peterson has a history of “easily brushing off every challenger who crosses his path.” Peterson won in 2008 with 72 percent of the vote, cruising to a 45-point victory. The last time he was held under 65 percent of the vote was 1994 — the last big GOP wave election.