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MPR / HHH MN Senate Poll: Franken & Coleman in Dead Heat

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A Minnesota Public Radio / Humphrey Institute poll of 917 Minnesotans finds DFL candidate Al Franken running ahead of 1-term Republican incumbent Norm Coleman 43 to 40 percent.

The MPR / HHH survey, conducted January 20-27, marks the first time Franken has polled on top in any of the 9 matchup polls released since February 2007. Nearly one year ago, Coleman led by 22 points (SurveyUSA, February 2007), but Franken climbed to within single digits in each of the 5 previous public polls conducted since July 2007 (SurveyUSA, Rasmussen). The MPR / HHH survey found 17 percent of the Minnesota electorate uncommitted to either Franken or Coleman.

Franken, of course, has to win the DFL caucuses on Super Tuesday, February 5th to secure the general election matchup against Coleman. Franken led his chief rival, Mike Ciresi 42 to 18 percent among the 478 Democrats surveyed, with a substantial 35 percent undecided.

The MPR / HHH poll also found Coleman's job approval at 50 percent—which is right in line with how Minnesotans have viewed Coleman throughout most of his tenure in D.C.: in 35 of 37 public polls conducted since Feburary 2003 (the month after Coleman began serving the state), the senior Senator from Minnesota has received a job performance rating between 46 and 55 percent. By contrast, DFL Senator Amy Klobuchar has received a job approval rating of between 52 and 66 percent in the 13 surveys conducted during the past year, including 66 percent in the new MPR / HHH poll.

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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