Ed Morrissey reports that a new internal poll for Republican congressional candidate Chip Cravaack shows Democratic incumbent Jim Oberstar leading Cravaack 45% to 42%. The race for Minnesota's 8th district is currently rated solid Democratic by the Cook Political Report, and Oberstar has won reelection with 64% or more of the vote in every election from 1994 until now. But there's reason to believe this poll might be somewhere close to reality.
Though it's an internal poll, it was conducted by a reputable firm, Public Opinion Strategies. Obama and Kerry each won the district with just 53 percent of the vote in their respective presidential races. Though the district is heavily unionized, it's a mining district that encompasses the "Iron Range," where his vote for cap-and-trade can't be playing well.
Furthermore, Oberstar, an avowed "pro-life" Democrat, is viewed by pro-lifers as a traitor to the cause--and an audacious one at that--for his behavior during the health care vote.
"I will not vote for a health care bill that doesn't have the House abortion language in it," Oberstar flatly declared on February 24. Weeks later Oberstar would be doing all could to undermine efforts to ban taxpayer-funding of abortion.
Oberstar, first elected to the House in 1974, probably believed he could brazenly flip-flop on this issue without paying a political price. Voters may yet prove him wrong.