Bachmann’s Lead Slipping in Minnesota Race

Tuesday, 11 Sep 2012 04:52 PM

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A poll paid for by the Democratic challenger to Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., has the former GOP presidential candidate in a virtual tie. The poll shows Bachmann with 48 percent of the vote compared to 46 percent garnered by Jim Graves, Minnesota National Public Radio reported.

The poll surveyed 401 likely voters August 29 through 30 and was conducted by a Democratic polling firm and paid for by the Graves campaign. It was dismissed by Bachmann spokesman Chase Kroll.

"Jim Graves can buy a lot of polls from Democrat pollsters," Kroll told MPR. "What he can't buy is votes. Minnesotans know Congresswoman Bachmann's record as a strong independent voice fighting against wasteful spending in Washington. When people learn about Graves, they'll see that he is just another big-spending liberal that we simply can't afford."

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A previous poll by the same firm and surveying 505 likely voters in June found Bachmann with a 5 point lead. The new poll shows Graves making gains among independent voters, where he now leads Bachmann 57 to 37 percent.

College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University political scientist Kay Wolsborn told MPR that Bachmann’s run for the presidency is a factor in the apparently tighter race.

"There were lots of other things that happened during that campaign that made [Bachmann] a little bit more vulnerable than she would normally be in District 6," Wolsborn told MPR, while noting Graves may also be helped by the lack of a third-party candidate this year. In 2008, a third-party candidate took 10 percent of the vote.

And it's not only independent and Democratic voters turned off by Bachmann's failed presidential bid.

Tea party members have criticized Bachmann for raising millions of dollars nationally for her congressional seat, promising to remain a thorn in the Washington establishment.

Instead of fulfilling that promise, Bachmann diverted millions from her Congressional campaign coffers for a losing presidential bid many saw as an ego trip for her. After dropping out the presidential race, Bachmann refused to endorse any fellow conservative in the race, saving her endorsement for Mitt Romney.

Pundits at the time speculated Bachmann believed by endorsing Romney she might be tapped as his running mate. As a further sign of her waning influence, Bachmann was not given a speak slot during the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Urgent: Does Paul Ryan Really Help Defeat Obama? Vote in Exclusive Poll

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