Welcome back to swing state status Minnesota

When Sen. Obama peaked about a month ago in polls, Minnesota seemed to move out of contention. The MN/WI/ND/SD region is known for being more pacific and anti-war than the country as a whole and McCain’s hawkishness is not as big a draw in this area. However, the last three polls show MN back in the margin of error.

Obama 47 (47)
McCain45 (46)

Obama 46 (49)
McCain 42 (36)

Obama 46 (54)
McCain 44 (37)

The Quinnipiac poll is from mid-July, but SUSA and Rasmussen are from August. Rasmussen polls monthly and Obama has been up by at least 12 in April, May, June, and July. Now it’s 2. According to Rasmussen, McCain has better favorables: 60/39 to 56/42. But as in most states, people who like both candidates seem to be supporting Obama.

Slightly related, Quinnipiachas a new national poll showing Obama up 47-42 which is closer than last month’s 50-41. Some interesting internal numbers below the fold:Whites:McCain 48 (49)Obama 40 (42)

McCain 65 (61)
Obama 25 (29)

Sidenote – why is everyone talking about Obama’s evangelical outreach? It seems to be a total failure.
18-34 years old:
McCain 36 (31)
Obama 55 (63)

Over 55 years old:
McCain 47 (45)
Obama 40 (44)

McCain 39 (44)
Obama 45 (44)

As you can see, there was a general across-the-board improvement for McCain over the past month in these Quinnipiac polls, except among independents. Nevertheless, he still trails by 5. McCain needs to get to even in these national polls. If he does so by continuing to improve across-the-board, he will flip or solidify his lead in the necessary states to win: CO, VA, OH, and possibly MI.

Finally, the most hopeful bit of data from these polls is the following question:

Is your vote for McCain or against Obama?
For McCain 60
Against Obama 33

For comparison, For Obama is 69% and Against McCain is 23%. In 2004, most Kerry voters were “against Bush” and it lead to more shallow support and it made it harder for Kerry supporters to win over people who didn’t hate Bush. It seems a solid majority of McCain supporters actually support him. That will help in the face-to-face friend-to-friend voter discussions.