A fresh SurveyUSA KSTP-TV poll on Minnesota’s U.S. Senate race shows incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman and his likely DFL challenger Al Franken in a virtual tie (47-46 percent for Coleman with a margin for sampling error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points).
The same poll delivers a blow to attorney Mike Ciresi’s electability argument. Ciresi, who is competing against Franken for the DFL endorsement, has argued that, in part because of Franken’s high negative ratings in past favorability polls, he is the DFLer more likely to defeat Coleman.
This survey finds that if the election were held today and Ciresi was the DFL nominee, Coleman would be reelected 50-41 percent.
Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, a professor of peace and justice studies at the University of St. Thomas, who is also seeking the DFL endorsement, loses to Coleman by 58-30. Another recent entrant into the DFL field, Darryl Stanton, loses to Coleman in this trial heat matchup by 58-29.
The survey of 650 registered voters was taken Sunday and Monday. The results were unveiled Wednesday night on KSTP’s evening news broadcast. SurveyUSA uses robotic voice interviews, which some pollsters believe is a less reliable technology than human-to-human interviews.
Looking at the crosstabs of the Coleman-Franken matchup (PDF), here are a couple things that jump out at me:
In the total sample, 37 percent identified themselves as Democrats, 29 percent as Republicans and 23 percent as independents. Confirmation that all Republicans face a strong headwind in statewide races.
In the total sample, just 15 percent describes themselves as liberals, compared with 30 percent conservative and 39 percent moderate. Despite the Dem surge, the L-word is not making much of a comeback.
Franken wins solidly (54-37) among self-described moderates.
Coleman wins solidly (53-39) among independents. If Franken ever starts splitting the independents more evenly, Coleman is toast. But that’s a big if.
Coleman beats Franken 52-39 among voters age 18-34. What’s up with that?