Poll: Sen. Franken Leads Republican Challengers in Minnesota

Image: Poll: Sen. Franken Leads Republican Challengers in Minnesota

Wednesday, 30 Apr 2014 12:35 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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A new poll shows first-term Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken is polling in the mid-40s, but still leads four Republican challengers in the Aug. 12 primary.

The Suffolk University poll released Tuesday, showed that of 800 likely general election voters in Minnesota, an average of 44 percent said they'd cast their ballots for Franken.

However, voters were divided on Franken, giving him a 46 percent favorability rating compared to a 41 percent unfavorable rating. And nearly 3 percent of the voters said they'd never heard of the freshman senator.

Franken's polling ratings put him ahead of four Republican challengers who have filed to run for his seat. State Sen. Julianne Ortman led in the poll among Republican candidates with 14 percent, and businessman Mike McFadden placed second, with 12 percent.

St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg, another of the candidates, received 1.52 percent of the respondents, while State Rep. Jim Abeler netted 7.58 percent of the vote.

The four Republican candidates are not yet highly recognizable. Sixty-eight percent of the respondents had not heard of Dahlberg; 67 percent did not know Abeler; 62 percent did not know McFadden; and 59 percent had not heard of Ortman.

The Independence Party vote could slightly swing the election, according to the poll. Between 7 percent and 8 percent of the likely voters said they would pick someone other than Franken or his Republican challengers.

With the primary still several months away, at least 19 percent of the voters said they were undecided.

Three political parties are recognized in Minnesota: the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party, the Republican Party; and the Independence Party of Minnesota.

Franken, the comedian-turned-politician, won a bitterly contested battle in 2008 against GOP Sen. Norm Coleman that ended in a recount with Franken winning by just a few hundred votes.

He has since been quietly building an impressive statewide organization with a $2 million war chest that includes donations from his Hollywood friends like Lily Tomlin and Carl Reiner.

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