Poll: Bachmann trails Democratic challenger

The Minnesota congresswoman got herself in trouble during an appearance on "Hardball," and now her reelection campaign is in peril.

Published October 24, 2008 4:10PM (EDT)

Michele Bachmann has had better weeks.

It was just last Friday that Bachmann, a Republican congresswoman from Minnesota, went on MSNBC's "Hardball" and made some inflammatory comments that brought her to national attention, though perhaps not in the way she might have hoped. In that appearance, Bachmann told host Chris Matthews that Barack Obama "may have anti-American views" and that the media should investigate her fellow members of Congress to see which ones are anti-America.

Since then, Bachmann's Democratic challenger, Elwyn Tinklenberg, has raised at least $1 million, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee kicked in an additional $1 million worth of advertising. Meanwhile, the DCCC's Republican counterpart, the National Republican Congressional Committee, abandoned Bachmann, scrapping plans for an advertising buy in her district.

Now, a new poll just out from SurveyUSA seems to indicate that all this has badly hurt Bachmann's chances for reelection. Though George W. Bush captured 57 percent of the vote in her district in 2004, and though she was originally elected with 50 percent and would be expected to expand on that now that she's an incumbent, SurveyUSA says she's actually trailing Tinklenberg. Forty-seven percent of respondents said they'd vote for the Democrat if the election were held today. Forty-four percent said they support Bachmann, and 6 percent said they favor the third-party candidate in the race. (The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.)

Of the results, SurveyUSA says: "The contest is volatile; these numbers freeze-frame a pendulum that may not have yet have swung its full arc," adding that the full impact of the events of the past week "would not yet be reflected in these poll results."

Really, it's surprising that she was even able to win her first congressional campaign, in 2006. Her district is heavily Catholic, but she belongs to a church that teaches that the papacy is the antichrist. That came up as an issue in the campaign, but she won anyway.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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