New poll shows another incumbent Senate seat (and governorship) may be trouble for Dems

It pays to remember that 58.01% of Minnesota voters did not vote for Democrat Al Franken for the US Senate in 2008.  Also, 56.4% of Minnesota voters did not vote for Democrat Mark Dayton for governor in 2010.  When the incumbent won the initial election with a mere plurality, I have always thought the analysis has to begin with the question, “What have they done to show voters they deserve reelection?”  The answer for both Minnesota Democrats may be Not Enough.   Here is a new poll from KSTP TV in St. Paul that suggests both races may be closer than many experts anticipate.   

According to our latest KSTP/SurveyUSA poll, they might have to sweat our close races again in 2014. Franken clings to a six-point lead over his closest Republican challenger Mike McFadden, 48 percent to 42 percent. The poll has a margin of sampling error of +/- 3.1 percent.

"This poll is a cannon burst into the Minnesota U.S. Senate race," says political science professor Larry Jacobs of the University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute.  Jacobs says if the race remains close it will attract millions in outside campaign money.  Franken has a larger lead over another potential challenger, state Representative Jim Abeler. Franken leads Abeler by nine points, 48 percent to 39 percent. "The fact that even Jim Abeler is only nine points behind Al Franken indicates there appears to be a solid base of opposition to Al Franken," says Jacobs.

Governor Dayton also faces a potentially close re-election bid.  He also leads his nearest competitor by just six points.  The GOP-endorsed candidate for governor, Jeff Johnson, trails Dayton 46% to 40%.  Dayton leads former House Speaker Kurt Zellers by seven points....

Minnesota gets a late start on elections.  The political season there kicked off just a couple of weeks ago with the state conventions and the primary isn't until August 12.  Sore losers in both parties' endorsement systems can mount a primary challenge often with chaotic results.  (Note that Mark Dayton was not the endorsed Democrat in 2010.  His deep pockets and name recognition helped pull off a primary upset.)

The wild card in Minnesota general elections in recent years has been the so called "radically centrist" Independence Party. 

The Minnesota GOP has been deeply split in recent election cycles.  In 2008, many fiscal conservatives were unhappy with US Senator Norm Coleman, a former Democrat, who was seen as a proponent of big government.  In 2010, the party tore itself apart over the governor's race, with many Republicans, including former Governor Arne Carlson supporting the Independence Party candidate.

It was no different this year as the endorsement debates at the recent GOP state convention were long and spirited.  It appears there will be a contested GOP primary for both governor and US Senate.  One hopes the party can unite before November, because numbers suggest neither Franken or Dayton has made a compelling case for a second term with Minnesota voters. 

It pays to remember that 58.01% of Minnesota voters did not vote for Democrat Al Franken for the US Senate in 2008.  Also, 56.4% of Minnesota voters did not vote for Democrat Mark Dayton for governor in 2010.  When the incumbent won the initial election with a mere plurality, I have always thought the analysis has to begin with the question, “What have they done to show voters they deserve reelection?”  The answer for both Minnesota Democrats may be Not Enough.   Here is a new poll from KSTP TV in St. Paul that suggests both races may be closer than many experts anticipate.   

According to our latest KSTP/SurveyUSA poll, they might have to sweat our close races again in 2014. Franken clings to a six-point lead over his closest Republican challenger Mike McFadden, 48 percent to 42 percent. The poll has a margin of sampling error of +/- 3.1 percent.

"This poll is a cannon burst into the Minnesota U.S. Senate race," says political science professor Larry Jacobs of the University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute.  Jacobs says if the race remains close it will attract millions in outside campaign money.  Franken has a larger lead over another potential challenger, state Representative Jim Abeler. Franken leads Abeler by nine points, 48 percent to 39 percent. "The fact that even Jim Abeler is only nine points behind Al Franken indicates there appears to be a solid base of opposition to Al Franken," says Jacobs.

Governor Dayton also faces a potentially close re-election bid.  He also leads his nearest competitor by just six points.  The GOP-endorsed candidate for governor, Jeff Johnson, trails Dayton 46% to 40%.  Dayton leads former House Speaker Kurt Zellers by seven points....

Minnesota gets a late start on elections.  The political season there kicked off just a couple of weeks ago with the state conventions and the primary isn't until August 12.  Sore losers in both parties' endorsement systems can mount a primary challenge often with chaotic results.  (Note that Mark Dayton was not the endorsed Democrat in 2010.  His deep pockets and name recognition helped pull off a primary upset.)

The wild card in Minnesota general elections in recent years has been the so called "radically centrist" Independence Party. 

The Minnesota GOP has been deeply split in recent election cycles.  In 2008, many fiscal conservatives were unhappy with US Senator Norm Coleman, a former Democrat, who was seen as a proponent of big government.  In 2010, the party tore itself apart over the governor's race, with many Republicans, including former Governor Arne Carlson supporting the Independence Party candidate.

It was no different this year as the endorsement debates at the recent GOP state convention were long and spirited.  It appears there will be a contested GOP primary for both governor and US Senate.  One hopes the party can unite before November, because numbers suggest neither Franken or Dayton has made a compelling case for a second term with Minnesota voters. 

RECENT VIDEOS