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Bachmann slumps to 5% in poll

AFTERNOON EDITION ALSO: Ag experts assess crop status; Vikes blogger rips GOP on stadium; Wisconsin advertising windfall from recalls; public can vote on preservation projects; and more.
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If they’re asking, it isn’t good. Peter Grier of The Christian Science Monitor throws out the question, “Is Michele Bachmann’s campaign cratering?” Says Grier: “That’s what a new Gallup/USA Today poll implies. The survey, taken last week, shows her as the first choice of only 5 percent of respondents. That’s down from 10 percent in August. USA Today’s estimable political correspondent Susan Page, in a tweet, described the Minnesota lawmaker’s poll trend line thusly: “Bachmann implodes.” Congresswoman Bachmann does not even place third in the Gallup survey. Ron Paul does, with 13 percent of the GOP vote.”

From a meat locker in Iowa, surrounded by skinned beef carcasses, Our Gal says she’s still got mojo. Seema Mehta of the Los Angeles Times writes: “Bachmann on Tuesday tried to tamp down signs that her presidential campaign is flailing, including new poll numbers that show her support is less than half what it was a month ago and harsh words from a former high-level advisor. … A USA Today/Gallup poll released Tuesday found support for the Minnesota congresswoman had plummeted to 5%. It was 13% in August. … She also disputed remarks by her former campaign manager, Ed Rollins, that she ‘doesn’t have the ability or the resources to go beyond’ Iowa. ‘We do not agree. We have sufficient resources to be able to do what we’re doing and that’s to be very competitive in this race.’ “

The Washington Post’s designated conservative political reporter, Jennifer Rubin, stirs around the Ed Rollins comments. She writes: “Not only does he tell us that Bachmann is essentially toast if she doesn’t win Iowa, but he hints that ‘coming out of the House of Representatives’ she hadn’t really been prepared for the media scrutiny of a presidential contest. He deemed the ferocious criticism of her ‘absolutely fair criticism.’ Rollins, not willing merely to undermine his own candidate, also went after Perry, suggesting there are ‘a lot of things that went on’ in Texas and promising that instances of cronyism will be revealed as time goes on. He’s only a bit kinder to Mitt Romney, saying ‘he’s made the evolution slow but sure to [being] more conservative, to fit the primary voters.’ Is there some method to his spasm of criticism or is this simply Rollins popping off? Well, he may join the long list of ex-Bachmann aides who left her employ with a bad taste in his mouth. And certainly explaining her weaknesses deflects blame from him.”

An AP story says the Department of Agriculture is still assessing the effect of last week’s freeze: “Corn and soybean condition ratings declined during the past week. Statewide, 46 percent of corn is rated in good condition with 10 percent rated excellent. Forty-three percent of soybeans are in good condition, with 8 percent rated excellent. The harvests of canola and sweet corn are nearly complete while the dry bean harvest advanced following another relatively dry week.”

Also from the farm … there’ll be less wheat harvested, but it’ll be better quality. The AP says: “[T]his year’s crop generally has higher levels of protein, which is important to millers and bakers because it affects the quality of their products. That means higher prices for farmers, which will help offset the drop in bushels. Minnesota wheat farmers did not have a particularly good year, with yields generally down, said Dave Torgerson, executive director of the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers.”

Joe Mikolai, blogging at the Vikings fan site Bleacher Report, rips into Sen. Any Koch and Speaker Kurt Zellers: “[T]he problem in getting a stadium does not stem from a lack of fan support or inadequate ownership, but rather from inept, unprofessional so-called leadership from the Minnesota legislature. Led by Senate Majority leader Amy Koch (pronounced ‘Coke’) and House Majority leader Kurt Zellers, this is the same political body that stood by and allowed the state to go into a government shutdown late in the summer all because of their refusal to work across party lines and compromise. Both unapologetic right-wing ideologues, neither answer their emails as I’ve emailed both of them in the past only to learn later I’ve wasted my time.” It’s one thing to be vilified by the SEIU or the teachers’ union, but when Vikings fans turn on you …

The growing list of school districts preparing to ask for more taxpayer support is not sitting well with GOP Rep. Pat Garofalo. Says Tim Pugmire at MPR: “Garofalo appears to be backing away from his earlier plan to start calling out individual school districts that he thinks should not raise taxes. He said he will only speak out in the coming weeks if districts do not provide voters enough information. Meanwhile, House Democrats continue to criticize Garofalo and the rest of the GOP majority for adding to the debt load of school districts by delaying additional payments to schools.”

Talk about a windfall for local TV stations … Scott Bauer of the AP writes: “Nearly $44 million was spent on recall elections targeting nine Wisconsin state lawmakers after a clash over collective bargaining rights, and unions and conservative special interest groups led the way, according to estimates released today. The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign based its estimates on reports filed with the state and assumptions about how much was spent by groups that don’t have to report. Democrats beat two Republican incumbents in the recalls, falling one seat short of what they needed to win majority control in the state Senate. Democrats spun the results as a victory and promised to forge ahead with a recall of Gov. Scott Walker next year. There’s also talk of more recalls targeting Republican state senators. Spending on any Walker recall effort would ‘make the Senate races look like a minor league baseball game,’ said Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate.”

Frederick Melo of the PiPress reports on voting for cash from American Express for historical preservation: “An online contest funded by American Express will dedicate $1 million toward historic preservation projects across the seven-county metro, most of them in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Through Facebook, the public is being invited to pick among 25 different potential recipient agencies, such as the Fitzgerald Theater, the American Swedish Institute or the Washington County Historic Courthouse. Depending upon how the votes go, as many as 10 of the 25 preservation projects will receive funding of between $50,000 and $125,000, and top vote-getters could receive more.” There’s a link to the vote.