NPR survey lists Bachmann among most-competitive GOP races


Conventional wisdom has it that Democrats will have a tough time holding onto congressional seats come November, and a new poll commissioned by NPR backs that up: in 70 districts where incumbents are considered most likely to be ousted, respondents back Republicans over Democrats at a rate of 49 to 41 percent. But is there anything to be gleaned from the fact that the poll – released just as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee added Minnesota state Sen. Tarryl Clark to its Red-to-Blue list – lists Bachmann as among the 10 most competitive races for Republicans in 2010? 

Pollsters Democrat Stan Greenberg and Republican Glen Bolger point to an energized GOP base, President Obama’s low approval rating, and anti-incumbent sentiment as challenging for Democrats this fall.

“In a year where voters want change and in which Democrats are seen to be in power, this is a tough poll – about as tough as you get,” Greenberg said.

But the NPR poll would appear to show at least some vulnerability for Rep. Michele Bachmann. While the study looked at 60 seats held by Democrats that could switch parties, it only listed 10 Republican seats that could turn blue, and Bachmann’s is among them. Still, CQ Politics continues listing the district as “Likely Republican,” and Rothenberg Political Report lists the seat as “safe.”

Democrats must see an opportunity in the district: they added DFLer Clark to its Red-to-Blue list yesterday, which comes with fundraising and organizing help from the national party. Discussing that move on MSNBC’s The Ed Show yesterday were GOP strategist Karen Hanretty and Huffington Post reporter Sam Stein.

“The DCCC list cracks me up,” Hanretty said, predicting, “Michele Bachmann is going to win.” She cited Bachmann’s fundraising bump after being “demonized” last election over comments that she felt the president and congressional Democrats should be investigated for “anti-American views.”

“She raised a lot of money in that primary last time,” Stein concurred, “but so did her opponent…. Now they have a very good candidate in Tarryl Clark, and I think there is a likelihood this could be one of those seats they could pick up.”