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Poll shows Franken leads over GOPers; top senators to fundraise for McFadden

Sen. Al Franken

WASHINGTON — A KSTP poll out Monday shows Sen. Al Franken with at least an eight point lead over his GOP rivals.

Franken holds 49 percent-41 percent leads over state Sen. Julianne Ortman and St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg. His edge over businessman Mike McFadden is 10 points, 50 percent to 40 percent. Two other candidates trail by wider margins.

The poll of 545 registered voters (crosstabs here) comes just a few weeks after a Star Tribune poll gave Franken a 55 percent approval rating, with disapproval ratings creeping up into the mid-30s. Franken's approval rating was underwater with independents in that poll, and he actually trails the top three Republicans with those voters in the KSTP survey, though he's within the poll's 4.3 percent margin of error.

Mike McFadden

Meanwhile, a power-packed group of Senate Republicans will hold a fundraiser for McFadden this week. According to The Hill, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and three current or former top officials with the National Republican Senatorial Committee — Jerry Moran (Kan.), Rob Portman (Ohio) and John Cornyn (Texas) — will co-host the fundraiser with former Minnesota Sens. Norm Coleman and Rudy Boschwitz. 

McFadden is easily the top fundraiser in the GOP field: he's raised $2.2 million this cycle and had $1.6 million on hand at the end of January, much more than Ortman's $114,000. A fundraiser hosted by top party leaders is a clear sign they've pegged their hopes in Minnesota with him, at least so far.

But if the GOP contest goes to an August primary — as it's expected to — McFadden will have to get through the rest of the field first. The Hill cites a poll from Citizens United showing him trailing Ortman 16 percent to 8 percent in a primary, with more than 52 percent of GOP voters undecided. But among those who have heard of both candidates, Ortman leads him by almost 20 points. The pollster concludes: “McFadden has to do more than increase his name recognition to win.”

Devin Henry can be reached at

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Comments (12)

Nate Silver

The problem with polling is that no one knows what it means. In the last couple of elections, we have really gotten beyond the point where we routinely take polls at face value. Before looking at the substance of this poll, we need to look at how the pollster has preformed in the past. We need to get a sense of how reliable he has been. Without that, these numbers are meaningless.

Any incumbent

with approval numbers in the 40s is generally in trouble.

When he's ahead of people with no name ID by only 10 points, he'd better start running tons of feel-good ads that say nothing in particular to stretch that lead before the incoming really starts.

The only

approval poll number cited was 55% in the STrib poll.

the Strib poll

has always been meaningless because it's typically 10% off in the democrat's favor.


Whenever I see election prognosticating by Mr. Tester, I am reminded of his fantastic election prediction comment the week before Obama was re-elected in 2012:

"Because next week all anyone's going to be talking about is the republican tsunami that hit on election day."

Save that quote

It'll come in handy this November.

To throw back in your face

on election night? That would be spiking the ball. You folks need to poke your head out of the proverbial ideological bubble, it's going to be a big disappointment for you. Not only won't you take the Senate, but the real damage will be your losses at the state level across the country.

"running tons of feel-good ads that say nothing in particular"

You mean like McFadden ??

looks the part

Al Franken certainly looks congressional. I wish he were actually doing something for the citizen.

The numbers

But how do we know what the numbers really are? KSTP is run by a prominent contributor to the Republican Party. In fairness, the Star Tribune polls are notoriously biased toward Democrats. Without context, none of these numbers mean anything.


The Star-Tribune is now using Mason-Dixon. Mason-Dixon has a definite Republican lean, namely a record consistently wrong in a Republican direction. Polling results from years ago when the Strib used someone else don't matter. SurveyUSA leans a bit right but has a better record. We haven't heard from a Democratic-leaning pollster yet.

Franken’s on the correct side of things

Franken’s done his job.
Now his supporters have to get out there & do theirs.

Meanwhile, McF is trying to sneak by on a smile.