Michele Bachmann In Trouble In Her Re-Election Bid?

A new poll from a Democratic polling firm suggests that Michele Bachamann may be in danger in her re-election bid:

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is in a close race, according to a poll conducted for her Democratic opponent, Jim Graves.

The poll shows Bachmann holding a narrow 48 to 46 percent lead despite the conservative lean of the district, a dangerous place to be for any incumbent. The poll shows Bachmann with near-universal name recognition, while Graves is unknown by more than 6 in 10 voters in the district, suggesting he could have room to grow.

As much as I would enjoy seeing Michele Bachmann go down to defeat, there are caveats to keep in mind here. First of all, any poll by an openly partisan polling firm should be viewed with a grain of salt for rather obvious reasons. For another, polling Congressional races is often more difficult than polling statewide races and poll results tend to be far more volatile. Partly, this is because the population is so much smaller and it’s not always easy to determine what a representative sample might actually be. In this case, Bachmann is running in a newly redrawn district so the task is made doubly difficult. That isn’t to say that you can’t poll Congressional races, because it’s done all the time by the campaigns who run their own internal polls. It is simply to point out that this one poll may not mean anything at all. Of course, given Bachmann’s prominence nationally, this poll may lead other pollsters to come into her districts and run a poll. If they do, it will be interesting to see if they show similar results.

Bachmann shouldn’t worry if she does lose, though. I’m sure there will be a nice fat Fox News contract waiting for her.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Congress, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Moosebreath says:

    Given the number of her ads I’ve seen on this site, I think she thinks she’s in at least some trouble.

  2. Anderson says:

    What’s that she’s holding – the GOP’s only approved method of birth control?

  3. anjin-san says:

    If I was a student, I would be ready to offer a prayer to make it so…

  4. JB says:

    Anderson, now THAT’S funny as hell!

  5. al-Ameda says:

    Wasn’t it Bill Maher who referred to Michele Bachmann and her husband as “the indoor Palins?

    I was hoping that Bachmann would win a caucus or two just to make it interesting. Her male equivalent, Rick Santorum, fulfilled that requirement for me.

  6. michael reynolds says:

    If she loses, how many weeks until Marcus comes out?

  7. PJ says:

    This a internal poll done for her Democratic opponent (something which Doug Mataconis has already pointed out), has his campaign released every poll they’ve done? No.
    Also, the sample size here is 401, which makes the margin of error about 5 points, so 53-41 would be within the margin of error.
    Finally this poll might even be one of the 5% of polls where the true result from the question asked isn’t within the margin of error. And considering that the Graves campaign isn’t releasing every poll they done, I’m guessing the probability for that is quite high.

    My guess, Graves released this poll so that it would look like that he has a chance to beat Bachmann hoping that it would get people to donate money to him.
    I’d want to see independent polling that showed Graves this close before I would believe what this campaign wants us to believe…

  8. LC says:

    Too bad we can’t require every voter in her district to spend an hour or two watching her in House committee hearings (C-SPAN is wonderful that way: videos of the hearings in which one can search for a particular participant). She is probably not the dimmest bulb in the House (I can think of a Democrat or two who are dumber), but she doesn’t have a lot of competition.

  9. Fiona says:

    It’s probably too much to hope that she’ll actually lose, but it would certainly be worth celebrating if she did. She’s a blight on Congress (not that she doesn’t have plenty of competition).

    Equally interesting, I’ve read that Paul Ryan has a well-financed opponent who’s making serious inroads into Ryan’s support. I’d really love to see that pompous douche bag go down. He might actually have to find a non-government job for once.

  10. o/~ Schadenfreude is die Schoenste Freud…. o/~

  11. Stonetools says:

    I’m really hoping for a wave election that sweeps out all the Tea Party folks. A boy can dream….

  12. Andre Kenji says:

    ANY poll showing an incumbent with less than 50% shows that he can lose.

  13. Ron Beasley says:

    Congressional elections are really local and crazies seem to survive. I’d put my money on Bachman.

  14. MarkedMan says:

    @Fiona: ??? Ryan is a rep. Since he’s running for VP, he loses his seat.

  15. Marked Man,

    No. As permitted by WI law, Ryan is still a candidate for Congress. Indeed, by the time he was named Romney’s running mate it was too late to take him off the ballot. If Romney/Ryan wins in November there will be a Special Election held to fill his seat. If Romney/Ryan loses, he will return to Congress.

    And, contrary to what Fiona said, there is virtually no chance that Ryan will lose his re-election bid to Congress.

  16. Fiona says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    A girl can dream. This is the first time Ryan has had a serious contender. Serbian has raised more than $1 million; his last opponent raised $12,000. At least somebody’s giving Ryan a run for his money.

  17. wr says:

    I suspect Roger Ailes is hoping Bachmann loses. Now that the romance between Fox and Sarah Palin seems to be cooling, he can use a replacement.

  18. LC says:


    He might actually have to find a non-government job for once.

    So true. I wonder how many potential voters know that he has, since the age of 21, never held – in Conservative terms – a “real”, non-government job.

    I suppose, however, that Dems can’t fight him using that argument because Dems believe that government has more legitimate functions than simply fighting wars and putting people into jail.

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