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Coleman Retains Small Lead Over Franken; Ventura Candidacy Looms

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Norm Coleman continues to lead Al Franken in his defense of his U.S. Senate seat, by 48 to 45 percent, according to a poll of 500 likely voters by Rasmussen. The poll, conducted on Wednesday, June 11th, finds no bounce for Franken coming out of last weekend's DFL convention, in which he won the party's endorsement on the first ballot.

Coleman has now polled ahead of Fraken in 15 of 17 surveys conducted by 5 different polling organizations since February 2007. Coleman has led by single digits in each of the last five such surveys since mid-March.

Rumors of an independent candidacy by Jesse Ventura continue to linger, and the Rasmussen survey finds Ventura polling much higher in this hypothetical U.S. Senate race, than he did at this point in 1998 when he was actively running for Governor of the Gopher State. In the new Rasmussen survey, the introduction of Ventura into the mix finds Coleman with a 39 to 32 percent lead over Franken, with Ventura polling at a substantial 24 percent.

As late as August 1998, Ventura was polling at just 13 percent in his run for Governor (Pioneer Press / MPR poll), so the former Governor would be starting his Senate run with a much longer running start than he had 10 years ago. The filing deadline for Ventura to launch his candidacy is in about a month (July 15th).

Still, Ventura has the highest negatives of any of the three principles: Coleman has a 45 percent unfavorable rating, Franken has a 50 percent unfavorable rating, and Ventura has a very high 62 percent unfavorable rating. Only 27 percent believe Ventura should make a run as an independent candidate.

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Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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