Matt Entenza is not accepting a key piece of data in Sunday’s Star Tribune Minnesota Poll, which shows him trailing in third place in the governor’s race. He’s fighting back.
The former St. Paul legislator who is seeking the DFL gubernatorial candidacy against DFL-endorsed Margaret Anderson Kelliher and former U.S. senator Mark Dayton issued a statement today taking a huge whack at a Strib poll finding. (The Star Tribune noted that this was its first poll to include the growing number of cell phone users.)
Not the one that says he has 36 percent support among voters against Republican Tom Emmer, behind Dayton’s 40 percent and Kelliher’s 38 percent.
No, it’s the more astonishing finding: that 61 percent of the 902 Minnesotans surveyed said they will vote in the Aug. 10 DFL primary. And among those likely DFL voters, the Strib poll claims Entenza has 17 percent of the vote versus Dayton’s 40 percent and Kelliher’s 30 percent.
According to all observers, from Secretary of State Mark Ritchie to campaign managers of all the candidates, that 61 percent number is off by a long shot.
Most election observers are expecting a turnout closer to 10 percent, thus making the final days of the campaign all about targeted get-out-the-vote efforts. With a low turnout, scientific delivery of voters to the polls is considered the path to victory, particularly in the first midsummer primary, as reported at MinnPost last week.
Kelliher’s campaign challenged the Strib data, too, saying, “Margaret is going to win this primary election the same way she earned the DFL endorsement — voter-by-voter, door-by-door with the help of thousands of volunteers.”
Entenza’s campaign issued this statement this morning:
“The Star Tribune poll released today assumes an unimaginably large voter turnout of 61%. … In addition it has a margin of error of nearly 8%, which means Entenza could be at 25%, Kelliher at 22% and Dayton at 32%.
“Since the poll suggests a turnout of 61% of 3.9 million voters, that means it expects that 2,379,000 people will vote in the primary.
“A turnout of nearly 2.5 million voters in a Minnesota primary is unheard of. For context, turnout in the last two competitive primaries was 550,253 in 1998 and 566,519 in 2000. The turnout suggested by the Star Tribune’s poll is over four times what is considered a high-turnout primary.
“If Matt Entenza is polling at 17% with the numbers suggested in this poll, that means there are 404,430 voters who will vote for him. The campaign has always maintained that it needs 150,000 votes to win. The Star Tribune itself has said this election could be won with as few as 70,000 votes.
“Anyway you slice it, this poll clearly shows that Matt Entenza has more than enough votes to win on August 10th.”
The poll came on the same day that the Star Tribune editorial page endorsed Anderson Kelliher.
It also came on the same day that the Pioneer Press’ Bill Salisbury wrote about Entenza’s extensive targeted campaigning in minority communities, recognition on Entenza’s part that slices of the electorate could determine the primary’s outcome.