National political pundits, the McCain campaign, and panglossian local Republicans should note this article in today's WSJ (sub req) that confirms something that I've been trying to pound through people's heads for some time now; Minnesota is NOT A battleground state in this year's presidential election:
The McCain camp also apparently sees some opportunities in Minnesota, where it has run ads and where the senator has recently campaigned. Sen. McCain's best showing in the seven battleground states polled by Quinnipiac is in Florida, where he trails by four percentage points.
In the new surveys of likely voters, Sen. Obama leads Sen. McCain by 52% to 39% in Wisconsin, by 54% to 37% in Minnesota, by 49% to 44% in Colorado and by 48% to 42% in Michigan. Quinnipiac polled 1,400 to 1,600 likely voters in each state. The polls have a margin of error of from 2.5% to 2.7%.
That's a seventeen point margin people. Obama leads McCain among independents in Minnesota by twenty-one points and among whites by twelve. He's also ahead of McCain among Catholics here. This "battle" is over before it began and the McCain camp would be wise to employ their precious resources elsewhere.
And for the last time, having Pawlenty on the ticket will NOT bring Minnesota into McCain. It would perhaps be a two-point swing at tops. However, from the same poll data there is a ray of light breaking through the Gopher State gloom:
In Minnesota, Republican Sen. Norm Coleman is leading his Democratic challenger, comedian Al Franken, by 51% to 41%.
The same respondents who favor Obama by seventeen have Franken down by ten? Now, that's something to smile about.