A new survey by Public Policy Polling (D) finds that Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) high profile as a conservative firebrand doesn't seem to be hurting her back home -- in fact, a majority of her constituents approve of her job performance, and they don't think she's an extremist.
Bachmann's approval rating is 53%, with 41% disapproval. She leads both of her Democratic opponents by substantial margins, ahead of state Sen. Tarryl Clark by 55%-37%, and leading former University of Minnesota regent Maureen Reed by 53%-37%. The pollster notes that the challengers have low name recognition, but the points stands that a well-known incumbent is over the 50-percent mark.
Respondents were also asked: "Do you consider Michele Bachmann's political views to be extremist?" Here the answer is 37% yes, 54% no. This might seem a bit odd; you'd think that usually people would consider it extreme to repeatedly call for revolution, express concerns about census data being used to create internment camps, and warn against "government re-education camps."
Bachmann's district is always tough ground for Democrats. George W. Bush carried it by double-digit margins twice, and John McCain held on to it by 53%-45%. President Obama's approval rating is only 39% in this district, with 55% disapproval. Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar is at 45%-43%, and Democratic Sen. Al Franken is at 37%-53%. If the horse-race numbers hold up in 2010, then it would be the first time that Bachmann herself would get over 51% support at the polls.
"Michele Bachmann's constituents don't seem to mind her penchant for controversial comments," said PPP president Dean Debnam, in the polling memo. "Given how poorly national Democrats rate in the district they probably agree with a lot of them."