Tim Pawlenty rates felons a natural Al Franken constituency

We don't know if how many convicted felons actually, really and truly voted illegally and flipped the 2008 U.S. Senate race for Democrat Al Franken. And frankly, we're a little skeptical about taking a Republican pressure group's "research" at face value over the matter.

Not so Tim Pawlenty. He happily chimed in today on Fox News -- where else? -- that the anti-Franken forces at Minnesota Majority "seem to have found credible evidence that many felons who are not supposed to be voting actually voted in the Franken-Coleman election."

"There's a serious allegation to that effect and if it turns out to be true - it's quite possible - there's a group here in Minnesota that's investigated that. They seem to have found credible evidence that many felons who are not supposed to be voting actually voted in the Franken-Coleman election. I suspect they favored Al Franken. I don't know that, but if that turned out to be true, they may have flipped the election in a very close election with only a few hundred votes difference as you know."

Turns out, according to John Fund, rightie columnist at the Wall Street Journal, there's actually some academic evidence suggesting felons really do vote Democrat:

Academic work by Jeff Manza and Marcus Britton of Northwestern University and Christopher Uggen of the University of Minnesota has shown that a large majority of felons routinely vote Democratic. The two academics estimated that Bill Clinton pulled 86% of the felon vote in 1992 and 93% in 1996. Statistician John Lott's own work in Washington State found that felons were 37% more likely to be registered Democrats even when accounting for race, gender, education level, religious habits, employment, age, and county of residence.

Still, T-Paw's premise may be based on some pretty shaky evidence: Via the Strib:

But local and state officials say the group's reports are likely inflated and hard to verify because of difficulties determining whether the suspected felon voters had their voting rights restored, if they knew they were ineligible to vote, or if they were actually the people whose names appear on voter rolls.

"Illegal, to my mind, means prosecutable," [Deputy Hennepin County Attorney Pat] Diamond said.

Here's the clip, via Fox 9. His comments on Franken come after the Foxers pitch him a few softballs about Barack Obama.

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