Since the government shutdown, the public perception of Republicans has declined, and so have prospects for the reelection of U.S. Rep. John Kline from Minnesota's Second District, according to the Star Tribune.
In a poll published Thursday, the House Majority PAC, a political action committee working to elect Democrats to the U.S. House, shows Democratic opponent Mike Obermueller leading Kline, 42 to 38 percent. The Second District comprises suburbs south of the Twin Cities, including Faribault and Cottage Grove; Rice, Goodhue, Le Sueur, Carver and Scott counties.
Conducted by the liberal-leaning firm Public Policy Polling, the poll of 825 likely voters also found that 42 percent of respondents view Kline unfavorably, compared to 32 percent favorably. The numbers for his job approval are similar. Obermueller's lead is just outside the margin of error. Kline beat Obermueller last year by eight points.
Tuesday's results of a national Washington Post-ABC News poll are similarly discouraging for the GOP: 32 percent of the public saw Republicans favorably; 63 percent had an unfavorable view.
Even though the election is more than a year away, the results for Kline and other Republicans may be troubling, according to Carleton College political science professor Steven Schier. “That’s what leads to the optimism for his competitors,” he said.
Political strategists are keeping a careful eye on Kline's district, according to MinnPost. The Second District voted for President Obama in 2012, and Kline won his election by less than 55 percent, a risk factor according to The Cook Political Report.
The Second District is still described as leaning Republican, and Rep. Kline has $1.3 million in the bank, compared to his opponent's $119,000.
Professor Schier calls Rep. Kline slightly more conservative than his district. So far, Democratic donors haven’t poured much cash into the Second District race. That will change if they sense that ousting Kline could help them win the 17 seats they need to recapture control of the House.