Why is Tom Emmer doing so badly?

Tom Emmer, the Republican nominee for governor of Minnesota, has made a few gaffes. He’s also running against one of the worst senators the state ever had — Mark Dayton, D — and an independent candidate who will perform strongly on Election Day, as independent candidates often do in Minnesota.

So I’ve been pretty confused so far to see Emmer trailing so badly in what is clearly shaping up to be a Republican year elsewhere. The latest poll, from Minnesota Public Radio, has him down by 11 points.

I looked at the internals of this poll, and — big surprise — it assumes some pretty wacky numbers for each party’s share of expected turnout:

  • Dem: 50 percent
  • Rep: 39 percent
  • Indy: 11 percent

Here is Minnesota’s turnout in 2008, the year Obama won convincingly with 54 percent and Norm Coleman was unseated:

  • Dem: 40 percent
  • GOP: 36 percent
  • Indy: 25 percent

And the 2008 numbers are almost identical to those from 2006, the last gubernatorial election (Democrats made up a slightly smaller percentage that year), which Tim Pawlenty won while breaking even among independents. Emmer is supposedly (according to this poll, anyway) beating Dayton by 10 points among independents.

So while I doubt that Emmer is actually winning this race, does anyone think that a 25 percent increase in Democratic turnout from 2008 is likely this year?

Beltway Confidentialelection 2010mnUS

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