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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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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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