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Cravaack poll shows close race with Oberstar

Republican Chip Cravaack says a recent poll conducted for his campaign shows he is surprisingly close to longtime DFL incumbent Jim Oberstar in the race for Minnesota's Eighth Congressional District.

Cravaack announced today the poll showing he's just 3 percentage points behind Oberstar at 45-42.

The poll was conducted for Cravaack's campaign Sept. 28-30 by Public Opinion Strategies of 300 likely voters in the district. The polling company says the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.66 percent.

Blake Chaffee, Oberstar's campaign political director, said the poll used leading questions and misleading information and doesn't reflect actual voter intentions. Pollsters called several Oberstar supporters who reported the questions to the campaign, he said.

Chaffee said the poll is called a "push poll," where derogatory statements are made by the pollsters before questions on their voting preference were asked.

If the poll is accurate, it would reflect an amazing turn for the district. Oberstar never has garnered less than 59 percent of the vote and has averaged about 64 percent in recent years. Republican candidates haven't done better than 39 percent against Oberstar, who first was elected in 1974.

According to the pollsters, half the people polled had heard of Cravaack with 19 percent having a favorable view and 6 percent negative of the challenger. Pollsters said the poll results also found low support for President Barack Obama and that 48 percent of those polled favor a new representative in Congress.