Franken: not funny
With incumbent Minnesota GOP Senator Norm Coleman leading Democrat Al Franken by 206 votes as state election officials proceed to hand count each of the 2.9 million votes cast on Election Day, the very premise upon which the former comedian is basing his recount effort is worthy of a good laugh. Having seen first-hand in Florida how claims of "under votes" can stir the passion of partisans, the one salient observation one can make about Franken's claim there is a vast "under vote" that will catapult him into the lead against incumbent GOP Senator Norm Coleman is that it is illusory - and an objective look at public polling data corroborates this viewpoint. Now that Franken is a two time loser - having now lost for a second time following the completion of the canvassing process - his campaign's entire legal strategy and rationale is premised upon winning this mythical under vote. Franken's "under vote" argument suggests that if a voter cast a ballot for Barack Obama, but did not vote in Minnesota's senate race, it was a mistake and that individual intended to vote for him. This is ludicrous, and Al Franken knows it is wrong. But he's now using this ruse as a fundraising gimmick. Anyone getting a call from team Franken asking for a contribution to his "recount fund" are being taken for a ride. Why? Because every public poll taken before the election had Al Franken running significantly behind Barack Obama. And despite what appear to be ever more desperate pleas from the Franken campaign attempting to convince anyone who'll listen that "under votes" throughout the state will automatically translate to a Franken win, consider these facts: From Labor Day through Election Day, according to the four public polls that consistently surveyed both Franken and Barack Obama's ballot positions (Rasmussen, Survey USA, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Minnesota Public Radio), Franken continually underperformed Obama in the ballot between 5% to 16%. The final polls before Election Day found Franken trailing Obama by an average of 12.6%. It is highly implausible, and statistically unlikely, that Franken will see his "extra vote" strategy materialize when the under votes are analyzed - simply for the reason the "new" votes will not be there, and never existed in the first place. From a public relations perspective, his reliance on "extra votes" is a loser - and puts a bright spotlight on the fact his strategy all along has and always will be to add votes to those already counted on Election Day. That's why it was so damaging this past week that the only real story anyone in America remembers about this race was that 32 Franken ballots were "found" in the backseat of an election official's car. Furthermore, the absence of Obama coattails in the Minnesota Senate race was documented by the Minnesota media well before the ballots were cast. An analysis by the Minneapolis Star Tribune found that only 68% of self-identified Obama supporters planned to vote for Franken. (Source: "Split Decisions Could be Key to Election" 10/28) Al Franken lost the U.S. Senate election because many Obama supporters considered him to be unfit for public office, and simply opted not to cast a vote for him. Franken's consistently poor image ratings took a major toll on his final standing on Election Day. Franken fell short then, and he will likely fall short now that the ballots are about to be counted for yet a third time.