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How Independence Party candidates cost DFL two U.S. House seats

Monday — or in this case, Friday — morning quarterbacking is easy in sports and elections.  After all, you have stats in sports and elections to draw conclusions.

So here goes: In the two competitive suburban U.S. House races, the numbers show that ticket splitters were rampant, and Independence Party candidates made the difference.

Ticket splitting is not new in Minnesota. In fact, our experience in this tradition is deep — think 1990 when we elected the late DFL Sen. Paul Wellstone and former GOP Gov. Arne Carlson on the same day.

The culprit this year is the Independence Party candidate. For congressional DFL candidates El Tinklenberg and Ashwin Madia, IP candidates likely cost them their shot at moving to Washington as members of Congress. David Dillon in the 3rd District and Bob Anderson in the 6th were significant factors in those races, earning 10 percent of the vote in each district.

The IP candidates’ strength wasn’t just that they were independents; the tone of the races was also a factor. The highly negative ads in each race probably turned off more independent-minded voters, pushing them to vote for Democrat Barack Obama but not for the DFL candidates.

6th District
John McCain won the presidential race in the 6th District, which means that the district is going to continue to be a tough climb for any DFL candidate.  That said, Tinklenberg was closer to beating GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann than Madia was to beating Republican Erik Paulsen. 

The always independent-minded district had a larger drop off between McCain to Bachmann than Obama to Tinklenberg. And while Tinklenberg was the Independence Party-endorsed candidate, because Minnesota doesn’t allow candidates to appear on the ballot for two parties, Bob Anderson was permitted to run as an IP candidate. Most years, an independent candidate could be counted on getting 5 or 6 per cent of the vote; this year he got 10. 

And that was likely the difference between Tinklenberg winning or losing. The numbers:

6th District, president
6th District, U.S. Senate
DEAN BARKLEY IP 72,055 17.5
NORM COLEMAN R 199,476 48.7
AL FRANKEN DFL 134,915 32.9
6th District, U.S. House
BOB ANDERSON IP 40,644 10.04

According to the current numbers, Obama outperformed Al Franken by nearly 50,000 votes and Tinklenberg by only 8,000 votes while McCain out performed Bachmann by 33,000 votes and Norm Coleman by just over 20,000 votes.

So where did those 33,000 votes go? Notice that the difference of 40,000 votes is nearly dead-on to the number that Anderson got. 

If Tinklenberg holds Obama’s votes, and Anderson is held to 7 or 8 percent, Tinklenberg wins. Clearly more McCain voters were willing to vote against Bachmann than Obama  voters were willing to leave Tinklenberg. Anderson was the difference because he gave anti-Bachmann voters somewhere to go without supporting Tinklenberg. 

In the Senate race, Barkley’s 17.5 percent or 72,000 votes was likely made up of 49,000 votes from Franken and about 20,000 from Coleman, which was the gap between their performances and Obama’s and McCain’s respectively. 

In the 6th, two key counties probably made the difference. Obama lost Anoka County but outperformed Franken by 20,000 votes; Barkley received 30,000 votes in this county.  In Washington County, Obama won by 6,000 votes and Franken lost by 7,000 votes; Barkley had 20,000 votes.  All total in the two counties, Franken was short 33,000 votes of Obama and Barkley picked up 50,000 votes. For Franken, that was the difference between a decisive victory and the recount.

3rd District
It’s more of the same in the 3rd District.  Obama won the district by 25,000 votes and Madia lost to Paulsen by 28,000.  The delta between Obama and Madia totals was almost 50,000 votes. 

It is clear that Dillon picked up a great deal of Obama’s voters who weren’t sure about Madia or were unhappy with the tone of the campaign.  Considering that Paulsen outperformed McCain by 3,200 votes and Coleman by nearly 2,000 votes, he likely performed at the Republican peak for 2008, again meaning that without an IP candidate in the race, Madia would have had better odds at claiming victory.

In the Senate race, Franken underperformed Obama by more than 54,000 votes. Barkely got 14,000 more votes than Dillon. They came straight from Obama voters.  Again, the GOP base was consistent: McCain, Coleman and Paulsen were all within two percentage points of each other. 

Here are the numbers:

3rd District, president
3rd District, U.S. Senate
DEAN BARKLEY IP 52,967 13.9
NORM COLEMAN R 176,678 46.6
AL FRANKEN DFL 146,841 38.7
3rd District, U.S. House
DAVID DILLON IP 38,967 10.5
ERIK PAULSEN R 178,920 48.4
ASHWIN MADIA DFL 150,753 40.8

The outlook
Madia’s drop-off from Obama of 50,000 votes is amazing, especially when compared Tinklenberg’s at only 8,000. Madia should have won considering Obama’s performance.

Meanwhile, Tinklenberg may have eked it out if he would have clearly made the point to voters that he was endorsed by the Independence Party or somehow found a way to make Anderson less of a factor.

The suburbs remain a major challenge for the DFL in congressional races. The party’s next best strategy may be redistricting in 2010 for the election of 2012 and hope for even stronger Obama coattails.

Or maybe races in those districts won’t have Indpendence Party candidates.

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Comments (29)

  1. Submitted by Patricia Litchy on 11/07/2008 - 11:17 am.

    I have been very concerned because, with the exception of Jesse, every major state race with an independent candidate in it has thrown the race to the Republican. Hence, the Democrats lost the governorship to Pawlenty for two terms (maybe three?) and this year lost the 3rd and the 6th and maybe the Senate.

    What to do? I am not sure, but as a Democrat, I think that the party must have a discussion and develeop a strategy for dealing with third party spoiler candidates.

    Moreover, I think that everyone should recognize that the Republican Party has a well tuned “ground game” throughout the state and knows how to get every vote they have to the polls. It is very obvious to me that DFL internal organizing must be strenthened during the next two years. The candidate, issues and advertising alone do not necessarily result in a successful election.

  2. Submitted by C Kaiser on 11/07/2008 - 12:10 pm.

    The future success of the Independence Party (or any third party candidate for that matter)is totally dependent on getting Instant Runoff voting implemented statewide (nationwide?!?). When the stakes are as high as in the last election (regardless of your political “position”) it makes it very difficult to vote for the candidate whose views might better reflect your own views, knowing that if that candidate is a third party candidate, (and stands no real chance of winning) you are helping your least favorite candidate to win it all. Instant Runoff ballots allow you to rank your selections, and if your first pick doesn’t win, your vote goes to your second pick. This is an idea whose time is well past due, and it would behoove ALL political parties (other than the Big “D” and the Big “R”) to put all of their energy and resources in to getting this policy implemented so that all of us can vote for our favorite candidate without fear of that candidate ending up being a “spoiler” and throwing the election to a kook with a Joe McCarthy-like mentality who promotes Un-American hearings to investigate “Traitors” who may have expressed dissent with the Status Quo.

  3. Submitted by Ted Snyder on 11/07/2008 - 12:10 pm.

    My consideration of the Independence Party as a serious political force evaporated when in District 3 it both endorsed Tinkenberg and permitted an IP candidate to run. Where is the discipline, where is the integrity? It is a group that only seems to emerge when an election is immanent. As such it will always be able to attract a minority of voters who vote IP in protest.

  4. Submitted by Brian Simon on 11/07/2008 - 12:57 pm.

    Patricia Litchy writes
    “I have been very concerned because, with the exception of Jesse, every major state race with an independent candidate in it has thrown the race to the Republican.”

    Unless you count the Klobuchar-Kennedy-Fitzgerald race. Or the Ellison-Fine-Lee race.

    It seems the DFL only notices there’s been an independent in the race when the DFLer loses. Its almost as though they’re looking for an excuse for the loss, rather than owning up to the possibility of having run a bad candidate (See: Franken, Hatch, etc).

  5. Submitted by Peter Tharaldson on 11/07/2008 - 01:03 pm.

    Good Grief Bloyce-

    Senate- You math is really bad. Exit polls showed that 45% of the people who voted for Dean would not have voted had he not been in (75% in CNN’s exit poll. What, are going to hold a gun to their head to vote for the mudslingers (stop slinging mud you idiots).

    3rd CD- Ashwin Madia would have needed 86% of David Dillon’s votes to win if Dillon’s votes were redistributed. No way would that happen. Blame your party’s endorsement process, not the IP (MINNPOST- I want a columns).

    6th CD- If we had fusion (destroyed by DFL during Carlson administrations attempt), perhaps hte IP’s more libertarian brand could have rubbed off on El. It didn’t…BUT…We did grab some independents for El. What is far more likely is that Anderson grabbed libertarian votes in Benton, Mille Lacs and Wright (I have teh numbers). If Andersons votes were redistributed, El would have had to capture 65% of them…again…not too likely.

    Stop crying and start building. THe IP base is over 10%. In Minnepolis we will become the official 2nd party this year and take Ward 12 and 13 (came close on 12 in 2001).

    But- please stop whining.

    Our candidates are still the only one’s with ideas.

    Peter Tharaldson
    5th CD Chair IPMN

  6. Submitted by Peter Tharaldson on 11/07/2008 - 01:06 pm.


    El ran in the 6th, not the 3rd. Second, no party has the discipline (called Totalitarianism) to prevent someone on an officially sanctioned ballot line. The state could put in fusion laws.

    Peter Tharaldson

  7. Submitted by Amanda Tempel on 11/07/2008 - 01:06 pm.

    Interesting analysis about 3rd party candidates. Would you recommend Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) for Statewide races?

    Did you know that the DFL State Party recently endorsed IRV at their State Convention this year? The DFL added IRV to their action agenda for the purpose of adopting the method for state & local elections.

    The Independence Party, Green Party, & Libertarian Parties in MN have already adopted this effort.

  8. Submitted by Michael Kuchta on 11/07/2008 - 01:47 pm.

    We can go round and round on whether Independence Party candidates play a spoiler role, and whether their role favors Republicans or not.
    The real problem, however, is this: As a result of “third party” candidates, the majority of Minnesota voters actually end up losers in statewide elections. Instead, the minority rules.
    Since 1998, Minnesota has had 7 elections for governor or U.S. Senator. Only once – Amy Klobuchar’s Senate victory in 2006 – did the winning candidate receive more than 50 percent of the vote. All the other “winners” achieved only a plurality, not a majority. If this year is any indication, this tyranny of the minority is now spreading from the governor’s and Senate races to U.S. House races as well.
    Minnesota needs to deal with this ongoing reality. How much longer can we expect voters to put up with elected officials whom most of them voted against?
    Right now, state law continues to support and encourage something more than two major parties. But the law doesn’t keep up with the consequences of its good intentions. The law fails to protect the majority of voters. It fails to ensure that the will of the majority prevails.
    The simplest solution, of course, is to require a runoff in any general election where the top vote-getter fails to achieve a majority of votes. This is not unusual, even here in the U.S. It’s a mere detail whether that runoff is a follow-up election (as in the state of Georgia this year) or instant runoff voting (in which voters rank their preferences). We need to agree on the principle first – that no one gets elected without a majority vote.
    But Minnesota also should re-examine other election laws. For example, Minnesota’s definition of “major party” rests in large part on whether a single statewide candidate can get 5 percent of the vote. The state should look at stripping that language and focus more on other requirements – such as being able to run viable candidates in multiple districts. If the goal is to develop beyond a two-party system, requiring real party infrastructure will do more to achieve the goal than being able to sacrifice a single candidate every two years.
    The state should also look at “fusion” voting, in which the same candidate can appear on the same ballot under multiple parties. This, too, encourages the development of third parties by eliminating the claim that voting for a third party is a wasted vote.
    If we keep doing the same thing in the same way, we can’t expect different results.

    The background:
    1998 Minnesota Governor
    Jesse Ventura 37.0%
    Norm Coleman 34.3%
    Skip Humphrey 28.1%

    2000 U.S. Senate
    Mark Dayton 48.83%
    Rod Grams 43.29%
    Jim Gibson 5.81%

    2002 Minnesota Governor
    Tim Pawlenty 44.37%
    Roger Moe 36.46%
    Tim Penney 16.18%
    Ken Pentel 2.25%

    2002 U.S. Senate
    Norm Coleman 49.53%
    Walter Mondale 47.34%
    Jim Moore 2.00%

    2006 Minnesota Governor
    Tim Pawlenty 46.69%
    Mike Hatch 45.73%
    Peter Hutchinson 6.43%

    2006 U.S. Senate
    Amy Klobuchar 58.06%
    Mark Kennedy 37.94%
    Robert Fitzgerald 3.23%

    2008 U.S. Senate
    Norm Coleman 41.99%
    Al Franken 41.98%
    Dean Barkley 15.16%

  9. Submitted by Chuck Lindeberg on 11/07/2008 - 01:57 pm.

    Instant Run Off voting anyone? Get involved with FairVote Minnesota!

  10. Submitted by Jonathan Carter on 11/07/2008 - 02:20 pm.

    So the only way to make third parties viable is to change the way we count votes. Shouldn’t they need to have a substantially different platform that encourage people to vote for that platform? Not say, just a little bit different and if that doesn’t work hate to have my vote not count so if they are doing well, lets send my vote to another party?

    Sound fishy to me not to say it’s even constitutionally legal.

  11. Submitted by Peter Tharaldson on 11/07/2008 - 02:46 pm.

    We are now getting a little lesson in myth propagation in politics…this one after teh election. puts up Mr. Olsons headline and his news is spreading throughout the state, that we cost the DFL the US House Race in the 3rd and the 6th (he is even referenced in one as a reporter- outch).

    I successfully made my point with the numbers above and even fired off a press release. There is no way Madia could have pulled more than 86% of Dillons vote, IP-endorsed Tinklenberg could not have gotten 65% of Anderson’s vote (rural counties), and Olson’s reapportionment of Barkley voters forgot to note that 45% of them did not care for the two smelly rats. In fact, he forgot to say that they actually scared 25000 from voting for Senate. He also did not read the StarTribune’s editorialists column that Barkley pulled evenly.

    I just discovered something else, Mr. Olson forgot to reapportion the over 20000 votes that went to the Libertarian and Constition candidate (hmmmm…I wonder where tehy would go).

    Well, it’s a damn good thing that Minnesota news culture has such a dedicated reporter in Mr. Olson to propagate the news.

    Peter Tharaldson

  12. Submitted by Eric Caron on 11/08/2008 - 05:34 pm.


    Yes, we hear you. Nobody is shocked to hear the most vocal proponent of the IP is a member of the IP ( Unfortunately in this venue, your argument carries as much weight as a cattle rancher at a vegan convention.

    Your arguments, like your party’s, continually run on “ideal” situations but play blissfully ignorant to the problems that your candidates inflict into their races. Everyone in this thread would clearly prefer a more open system of government that isn’t chiefly ruled by 2 parties – but in life you have to do the best with what you’ve got. And while the Independence Party plays ignorant to the issues it causes – without feasible solutions that can be implemented in a short time (like IRV) – your largest accomplishment will continue to be essentially contributing votes to the party that’s the most polar opposite of your candidate’s views.

  13. Submitted by John Olson on 11/08/2008 - 06:28 pm.

    Peter, take some deep breaths.

    If the IP wants to play with the “big boys,” you better get used to taking it in addition to dishing it. One or both parties are going to point at the IP party as a an excuse for everything from global warming to athlete’s foot, no matter what.

  14. Submitted by Mark Linden on 11/08/2008 - 07:26 pm.

    Perhaps the best thing for the Democratic party would be to make elections affirmations of entitled candidates. Sadly, too many elections have been stolen by Independents, Republicans and others…….Would 41% be a better majority for Democrats? BY RIGHT, Ashwin Madia should be congressman, his votes were stolen by an independent, which is an absolute shame.

  15. Submitted by Tim Nelson on 11/09/2008 - 11:38 am.

    Independence party candidates can win if both major parties conduct partisan campaigns. Franken did, but Coleman did not.

    Amy Klobuchar ran the same moderate Democrat Senatorial campaign as Hillary Clinton did, though it did help that the Independence candidate was to the left of Amy.(no comment on what happened to that moderate campaign for Hillary)

    Pawlenty hasn’t run a partisan campaign either. Given a choice, Minnesota, in a Statewide election, will pick a RINO.

    Ventura stepped up his libertarian policies in the last two years, and that is an easy way to self-destruct.

    I’m not sure why the partisan wonks want me to do write-ins, but they do.

  16. Submitted by Peter Tharaldson on 11/09/2008 - 12:05 pm.

    I am not blissfully unaware of our political system. We have the same strategic voter pluralistic system as Canada and the UK. The variable of our election system, however, does not explain everything. As in Canada and the UK, where a center third party provides a pressure valve to the dominant parties, the US once had the same pressure valve prior to the television era of the 1950’s. We don’t have a two party system, we have a two-party dominated system. Sadly the US has moved to such monied politics and long elections that role of the third parties throughout our country’s history, a role of claiming between 5-10% of seats prior to the big money era starting, has been erased (I am a strong advocate for reading history).

    The fact is that many people voting in this election voted against someone, not for someone. I would dare say that number is very high. Truly the problem with our election system is that the very things that get someone elected (big money, special interests, lowest common denominator rhetoric), are the same things that make them unable to govern. Sadly, as our system becomes more about negative referenda on the government in power (we use to call them administrations), we set ourselves up for failure. Need any evidence of this, look around.

    As for Mr. Olson’s piece, I am deeply concerned about the like of Mr. Olson, Bill Bennett, and Chris Mathews doubling as reporters. Clearly Mr. Olson promoted an idea that was a farce, but he had the headline. What is sad is that balance in the news increasingly is about putting the Bennetts nad the Olsons of the world up against one another, with no attempt to report.

    We have a two party dominated system, it is actually in the nature of the political economics of our system. My point is that to the extent that this dominated system has become two parties in totality, does not allow for the marketplace of opinion necessary for a society to survive. The pressure valve on a boiler is a small part, but if you close it off something bad is likely to happen.


  17. Submitted by Peter Tharaldson on 11/09/2008 - 12:07 pm.

    #14 claims that David Dillon stole the election from Ashwin Madia because, had Dillon not been in the race, Ashwin would have gotten more than 86% of Dillons vote (my math, not Olson’s idiotic opinions). You know, I don’t think partisans have a tough time deceiving to win….just look at the ads.

  18. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 11/09/2008 - 02:42 pm.

    Peter Tharaldson is blatantly wrong. We DO NOT have the same pluralistic system they have in Canada and the UK. We have a two-house system with a president and those two countries have a parliamentary system. Both are democratic, but as different as night and day. Whereas the parliamentary system easily lends itself to third parties (or fourth parties, etc.), our system does not. That is why we have never had more than two serious parties in this country since the very beginning. And then saying you understand the system shows how ignorant you, the rest of your party and most of your voters truly are.

  19. Submitted by Eric Caron on 11/09/2008 - 03:15 pm.


    Many books and webpages are filled with the flaws in our current system. It would seem that you, and the Independence Party, acknowledge the problems that 3rd party candidates introduce into their races. Given that we can agree on “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” do you have any insight into fixing the problem?

    I would suggest that a candidate, who isn’t polling at 20% within 2 weeks of the election, would formerly withdraw from the race and push their supporters towards the major candidate that’s closest to the candidate’s ideals. I’m sure that an arrangement could be worked out, at that point, between the major party and the 3rd party, that would make this a financially viable option.

    There has to be a mutually beneficial solution, Peter, that allows the IP voice to be heard – even with the possibility of being elected – without causing 2000-Naderesque carnage in the races. So what is it?

  20. Submitted by Peter Tharaldson on 11/10/2008 - 03:52 pm.

    Jeremy- you are confusing the governmental system with the electoral system. I can assure you that in fact, Canada and the UK (and Australia for that matter) are identical. I know that because we have talked to the NDP in Canada and the LibDems in the UK. The same wasted voted, spoiler labels are swung at them. They are parliamentary in their government, but pluralistic winner-take-all in their election. That is not a small point but a really really big one.

    The IP has violated every rule of third parties accepted in teh U.S. It has grown in electoral support in most races, it has not faded away, it’s candidates also do not shrink towards the election. Many political scientists are thinking, quite correctly that we are a quasi-party of independents…that’s makes us more adaptable than a typical ideological third party (like the Greens).

    You guys say third party, but it is probably somewhere in between in support.

    As far as dropping out before the election. We need electoral reform, and more critical than IRV or fusion is the financial reform. We were outspetn 200:1. We don’t take special interest money, and therefore don’t get the independent support of 527’s either.

    In my opinion, putting a pullout date in place would only encourage uncontrolled spending. BTW- our cost per vote, and we get votes proportional to the NDP in Canada and LibDem in the UK, is far far far less than what the other two spend.

    Secondly, over half of our voters would be disenfranchised without us in the race…they would not vote. Minnesota’s high turnout is not only due to sameday registration but also having more than two choices. If you are not concerned about disenfranchisement, you should be. 45- 75% of Barkley’s voters would not have voted for Senate. We now know that nearly 30000 Minnesotans would not hold their nose to vote for Senate, AND we know that the SOS estimate and polling estimates of voting turnout were off. Minnesota lost about 3 percentage points over expected turnout. I suspect a few more “unfit” and “corrupt” ads would have taken care of that.

    1. Financial Reform— this has got to stop
    2. Fusion
    3. IRV- note that I am more into financial. I know the political economy can support 3, but the financial one is are truly big enemy. IRV has a good place, but not a panacea.

  21. Submitted by Peter Tharaldson on 11/10/2008 - 03:59 pm.

    Jeremy- I only looked at the opening of your post. I responded to that factually. An election and electoral system is very different from a political system. That is true. We have talked with the NDP and LibDems. I have a cousin who is very active in the NDP in Manitoba in his riding. I can assure you that the only difference between us and them is money parity, and it is not for the IP’s lack of support, it is because the NDP has far far more parity with the dominant Liberals and Conservatives in Canada.

    As far as the insults, stop taking cues from the rewinds of those Senate commercials. Most of us don’t talk like that. Moreover, I can assure you if you meet the IP, you will be more than impressed on how well thought out their decisions are.

  22. Submitted by Eric Caron on 11/10/2008 - 05:23 pm.

    Peter, perhaps you could site a source? It seems like you hold your party’s voters in pretty low regards by claiming up to 75% of your voters wouldn’t have participated in the democratic process. I’d have to imagine that they’d find that statement offensive, too.

    Nice to see you list 3 solutions. Will you can list a source showing the IP putting weight/action behind enacting them? Your party spends a great deal of time saying it needs these reforms to happen so our political party could become viable. Do you have any numbers/sources to show that there’s some walk to back up the talk?

    And to your point of “The IP has violated every rule of third parties accepted in teh U.S.”, perhaps having rules where candidates who don’t receive the endorsement can’t run on the ticket are rules worth following? A group that follows direction is a lot more effective than a bunch of individuals following their own agenda. Your party’s inability to wrangle in candidates, such as Bob Anderson, really showcases the lack of party direction – a crucial criterion for larger populace acceptance.

  23. Submitted by Peter Tharaldson on 11/10/2008 - 10:07 pm.

    Does anyone posting on this list take Civics classes?

    Minnesota has an open registration system, no party has discipline to withhold a candidate from filing. Evidence: Ms Lord in the DFL and that crook in Italy who files under the Republicans?

    Advocating reform- you betcha- numerous hearings. 45000 pieces of pro IRV lit dropped, a party chair who has repeatedly advocated for reform over those ballot lines.

    As for voting….45% would not have voted for US Senate…they would still have voted but would have left that line blank (source: NEP exit poll). I would suggest that is a good thing. Al and Norm are probably the worst two senate candidates this state has ever produced. The 75% is the metric determined by CNN.

    I suppose these less than intelligent human beings don’t deserve to vote (actually we have a much higher education demo than the DFL and or only slighlty shy of the Republicans).

    As far as evidence of solutions, I have done some path analysis to try and isolate the stronges impact on performance. In the case of the IP, is it is most directly related to the almighty dollar. If we had a parity race we would win.

    One thing we are very close to doing is going after the 527’s directly. The Republicans and Democrats don’t do it in the way it needs to be done because they quietly hold their nose as they take in their benefits. Most of these saps should be called out for the ugly anti-Americans they are (criticize that all you want but these people are the cancer cells on our political society).

    We are very close to doing this and would have the ability to shine some realy light on these thugs. Moreover, our limited experience in going after them has demonstrated that they are unable to defend themselves anytime someone shines light on them. They are very use to hiding behind parties. By exposing their actors, their supporters, and even those people who do the voice-overs (unfit for Minnesota rhetoric), we should be able to shake out a lot of ugly and maybe get these elections more on the up and up..

  24. Submitted by Eric Caron on 11/11/2008 - 09:02 am.


    Drop your “I’m smarter than you all attitude.” In no way does it contribute to these discussions. Your trite attempts to make the rest of us look un(der)-educated is both insulting and unwarranted. Yes, I’ve taken Civics classes. Have you taken any courses on common courtesy? Or perhaps you’ve been taking too many cues from the Senate commercials (the accusation you made against Jeremy).

    Citing sources (sorry for my previous typos) involves referencing an actual reliable source’s publication. I was able to find the statistic you mentioned – – and you’re grossly misrepresenting the numbers they present. Their “75%” is the number of people who preferred Barkley when choosing to note vote if the race were only 2 parties, which is 9%. So this very source that you continually refer to is, in reality, a completely different statistic than how you present it.

    Any other stats you would like me to fact check? Perhaps before you continue to mock MinnPost’s journalistic abilities, you make sure that your own “facts” can hold water.

  25. Submitted by Peter Tharaldson on 11/11/2008 - 12:02 pm.

    Whoa Eric-

    1. I have displayed the utmost respect despite three rather childish attempts to questions the intelligence of anyone voting IP (these were not small insults). The last one was just purely insulting…and not from you.

    2. The CNN stat I quoted was referenced from a secondary source…I should know better but did not have time to check…it was off. The 45% is spot on, however, and does come from teh National Election Pool analysis. I assume you did look that up and that is why it was not referenced. The overall point is well made, what are you going to do with nearly 200,000+ Minnesota voters who would not touch the other two…tell them to forget it?

    3. Minnpost is awesome (why would I be here). Nevertheless, putting a pure partisan in the role of reporter, whether from the left or the right, seems to be growing in popularity too much. Is this a cable news culture that does this? What does this mean to the future of news?

    These numbers have been fact checked-

    1) Madia would have needed 86% of Dillon’ss voters to have won (assuming that all of Dillon’s voters would have voted for one of the other two). Any reasonable person agrees that is unrealistic given some of our very conservative views at the federal level (spelled with a small “c”). The author of this article said it was our fault..and he is portrayed as a reporter.

    2) Tinklenberg was our cross-endorsed candidate. No mention is made of the attempt to get fusion here (beaten by DFL) and no mention is made of the fact that cross-endorsement was ignored. Nevertheless, El would have needed over 65% of Anderson’s vote. I looked at the polling areas. You can too. Go to the SOS website and look up precincts in rural Benton and Wright counties. Notice the big Anderson uptick. That’s the epicenter of this thing.

    Thanks for the note on CNN and I will take care in referencing it. The NEP data is solid, however, and I don’t thing the disenfranchisement of only 200,000 + Minnesotans choice is acceptable.

    Other Notes:

    One guy called me stupid for my saying we have the same election system as Canada and the UK. He said, no…they have a parliamentary system. That is their government, not their election sytem. They have a pluralistic winner-take-all system just like our own (except the Canadian districts are called ridings). Their third parties deal with the same thing we do. In Canada the NDP get’s the wasted vote thing all the time, but because of money parity the can make a good stand and get a small percentage of seats (they control Manitoba’s provincial government, however).

    Perhaps if the guy who wanted to flame out on Canada’s election system would have kept it at that we would have a good discussion. I would not have thrown in the civics comment had there been a little more respect on that part. That was not something learned in some college, but Mr. Sauer’s 9th grade civics and Healy High in Pierz, MN.


  26. Submitted by Peter Tharaldson on 11/11/2008 - 12:17 pm.

    Actually Eric-

    I withdraw the apology on CNN, the secondary source I got that data was right after I looked at your digging to find the primary source (thanks). Of the Barkley voters, 75% would not have voted if the choice was Franken or Coleman only. That is correct and I stand by it. I was reacting so quickly to your sharp criticism that it was when I dug into it that I realized the source I had was right. You need to read the Barkley column as his supporters. They Coleman, Franken and “would not have voted” in the rows is what the supporters of that candidate would have done if the race were between Coleman and Franken)

    I copied the data Eric found below (it is not as pretty in text format so you will have to align- sorry)CNN does not publish the Margin or Error, but teh sample size is similar to the National Election Pool exits, so I am guessing it is + or – 4%

    Vote For Senate in Two-Way Race
    Total Franken Coleman Barkley Other/No Answer Franken (43%) 88% 1% 11% N/A
    Coleman (46%) 2% 90% 8% N/A
    Would Not Have Voted (9%) 14% 8% 75% 3%

    I only have a pdf emailed to me from the NEP folks. I can email it to anyone who wants to look at it if you email me at

  27. Submitted by Peter Tharaldson on 11/11/2008 - 12:48 pm.

    OK- some humble pie. Should not do this on a short break Thanks for the numbers Eric. You are correct. The axis is opposite the national election pool and I read it too fast.

    NEP says 45% of Barkly voters would not have voted in a two way race that is correct (email me if you want it

    CNN- said of the 9% who would not have voted, 75% of them were Barkley voters.

    As it turns out, CNN and NEP were equal. 75% of 9% of the entire voting electorate for senate happens to be 44% of the Barkley voters.

    We still do not disenfranchise 200000+ Minnesotans

    and I stand solidly by my comparison to Canada and the UK.


  28. Submitted by Blois Olson on 11/11/2008 - 07:29 pm.

    Peter et al,

    Peter, I am not here as a reporter but rather more of a columnist/analyst – I have never claimed objectivity, however I am not a blind partisan.

    Here are a couple follow up points:

    A. The headline, but not the rest of the column implies that the Independence Party candidates are responsible for the results going to the GOP. That is only partially true. Never to I suggest that one candidate would have recieved all of the IP candidate votes. The premise is trends that the DFL failed to capitalize on.

    B. The DFL candidates are equally responsible, as the tone of the race turned off independents, and was likely the reason for the IP performance – especially in the 3rd.

    C. The 3rd and the 6th are fundamentally different races, one is an open seat which leaves voters with a “who should we hire” mentality. The gap between Obama and Madia should be disturtbing to the DFL (and others have since said the same). Madia clearly had the trend in his favor if only could have convinced the voters to hire him.

    D. In the 6th, it is VERY clear that the “fire” Bachmann vote was more than the majority, and nationally other competitive seats where incumbent R’s were in trouble the D’s won. The lack of a 3rd party, or a strong party was likely to the D’s favor in those races. That is where the national and local trend for Obama hurt D’s becuase of the IP’s presence.

    As for solutions, maybe that can be another column. Thank you to all of your comments and dialog it is VERY encouraging to see it on such a topic.


  29. Submitted by Peter Tharaldson on 11/12/2008 - 02:34 pm.

    Thanks Blois-

    I saw a very encouraging op-ed in the Duluth paper regarding IRV…fingers crossed. I personally think fusion is easier to get through but IRV would be wonderful.

    I think your assessment is getting somewhere. I agree with much, and not with everything (that is good). I think you will find that many voters crossed from Obama to Coleman (you might even find a few going to Bachman…gasp).

    The independents (with a small “i”) are growing. The IP tries to pull them in as we are more like independents in a confederation than a party (upto 30% of indedpendents in many races in this last race). The thing of it is that independents are growing, and they treat elections like going to the grocery store.

    The non-aligned are going to make politics going forward pretty crazy.


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