Franken Now the Slight Favorite in Minnesota?

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008 at 12:23 pm

Following up on Chris Steller’s elucidation of the Senate recount in Minnesota that’s left most pundits scratching their heads, several new reports show Al Franken might be the slight favorite to take the seat.

Yesterday, Talking Points Memo reported that the Franken campaign’s numbers show the Democratic candidate trailing by just 50 votes, a significantly lower figure than the 303 reported by the Star Tribune and other news outlets. The difference comes from the campaign’s methodology, which assumes that the more the 6,000 ballot challenges will be rejected and the election judges’ initial opinions upheld. The official figure removes the challenged ballots from the overall count until the challenges are resolved.

Nate Silver of the electoral handicapping site FiveThirtyEight.com, whose magical regressions yesterday afternoon gave Norm Coleman the edge, now concludes that Franken is the slight favorite to win the race.

Of course, this is heavily based on speculation, and Coleman’s slim lead — whether 50 or 303 — is dwarfed by the 6,000 challenged ballots yet to be resolved.

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