Michele Bachmann could be in big trouble in 2014.
A new Public Policy Polling survey finds businessman Jim Graves, the likely Democratic nominee for the U.S. House in Minnesota’s 6th congressional district, leading Bachmann by a 47 to 45 percent margin. Graves’ narrow advantage, which is well within the poll’s +/- 4.4 percent margin of error, is a huge red flag for the right-wing congresswoman, considering the district’s strong Republican lean — 39 percent of respondents to the PPP poll self-identified as Republican, compared to 32 percent independent/other, and just 29 percent Democratic. According to FairVote, Republicans outnumbered Democrats by a 59 to 41 percent margin in the district in 2012.
Graves was also Bachmann’s opponent in 2012; despite the GOP’s registration advantage and Bachmann outspending Graves 12-to-1, she won the election by fewer than 5,000 votes.
Bachmann remains unpopular among her consitutents; 44 percent view her favorably, while 51 percent view her unfavorably and 5 percent are unsure. By contrast, 39 percent view Graves favorably, while 33 percent view him unfavorably and 28 percent are unsure. Graves’ relatively low name recognition suggests that at this point the tight race is largely a referendum on Bachmann’s deeply controversial tenure in the House.
The PPP poll is the second piece of tough news for Bachmann this week; on Friday, the attorney for Bachmann’s former chief of staff Andy Parrish confirmed that the FBI is now investigating alleged campaign finance violations in Bachmann’s 2008 presidential campaign. Along with the FBI, the Office of Congressional Ethics and the Federal Elections Commission are investigating whether Bachmann’s campaign improperly paid an Iowa state senator through the congresswoman’s political action committee, and whether the state senator stole an email list from another Bachmann staffer.
For her part, Bachmann is clearly aware of her tenuous political position. Although election day is still 17 months away, the three-term congresswoman has recently begun airing re-election ads in Minnesota:
Unfortunately for Bachmann, the ad’s subject matter — her continued, fruitless efforts to repeal Obamacare — is exactly the type of divisive rhetoric that has made her so vulnerable in the first place.
AP Photo/Molly Riley, File
H/T: The Huffington Post