WASHINGTON — A shock KSTP/SurveyUSA poll has 18-term incumbent Jim Oberstar up by a single point over Republican challenger Chip Cravaack. It’s the first independent survey of the district and shows Oberstar in a race so tight it could only hinge on turnout Tuesday.
Oberstar leads Cravaack 47-46, with three percent going to a third party candidate and four percent undecided.
“It’s good news for us,” said Kyler Nerison, communications director for Cravaack. “It definitely reflects what we’ve seen on the ground.”
“Today’s new poll results from Survey USA/KSTP dramatically demonstrate that Northern Minnesota is ready for a change after fifty years of Jim Oberstar in Washington,” GOP state party chair Tony Sutton said in a statement. “Chip Cravaack has run a tremendous grassroots campaign, and I know he will be an outstanding leader for the people of Northern Minnesota.”
Oberstar’s camp said the poll doesn’t reflect what they’re seeing in the campaign.
“Ultimately, voter turnout will determine the outcome of this election,” Oberstar spokesman John Schadl said.“Last night over 1,000 people turned out for the DFL rally on the Iron Range. We have more than 1,000 volunteers across the District working for Jim.We are going to win this and Jim Oberstar is going to continue to serve as Minnesota’s Eighth District Congressman.”
Schadl said SurveyUSA has a history of overstating GOP results in Minnesota, pointing to the 2006 and 2008 Senate races here, as well as the 2008 presidential race in Minnesota. In all of those cases, Democrats finished five to seven points above the last SurveyUSA projection. He also forwarded an article by FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver, who identified a 4.5 percent house effect in SurveyUSA’s polls.
However, Silver also identifies SurveyUSA as the third most accurate pollster in America, well above others that have polled in Minnesota this cycle like Rasmussen, StarTribune, Humphrey Institute/MPR and St. Cloud State (which MinnPost has partnered with).
The full poll results, including cross-tabs, are linked to here.