Paul Demko of The Minnesota Independent has a non-conventional wisdom take on Dean Barkley’s impact on the senate race. He argues that Barkley may be hurting incumbent Norm Coleman more:
“The Independence Party challenger has been polling near 20 percent and is poised to have a major impact on the Senate race — despite having almost no money in what’s expected to be the most expensive campaign in Minnesota history.
But Barkley shouldn’t be expecting any gift baskets from Coleman between now and election day. That’s because the conventional wisdom — i.e. a strong third-party candidate translates into six more years for Norm in Washington — doesn’t seem to be panning out. In fact it’s becoming clear that the emergence of Barkley as a factor in the race is disproportionately hurting the incumbent.
Let’s take a look at the poll numbers. There have been six polls taken since the beginning of August that included Barkley as a choice. Here’s the average spread in those surveys: Coleman, 41.2; Franken, 40.2; Barkley, 12.5. Now consider the spread in the last six polls that included just the Democrat and Republican candidates: Coleman, 49.2; Franken, 42.2.”