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Poll shows Dayton leading DFL primary field

Poll shows Dayton leading DFL primary field
By Eric Black

Mark Dayton starts the DFL gubernatorial primary race with a solid-looking lead over his two intraparty rivals and running slightly ahead of Republican Tom Emmer in an early trial heat for November. Emmer leads in trial heats against the other DFL primary candidates.

The sample of likely DFL primary voters was small, although the precise size is not yet disclosed. The campaign for the Aug. 10 primary is just starting. And Dayton starts with the most name recognition. So remember, horserace polls are like crack cocaine for political junkies.

The poll was conducted by the Humphrey Institute for MPR. The two have joined forces for polling in this election cycle.

A matchup of the three DFL primary candidates came out:

  • Former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton: 38 percent
  • Speaker of the MN House Margaret Kelliher Anderson: 28
  • Fomer MN House DFL Leader Matt Entenza: 6
  • Don’t know/refused/other: 28.

Then, in the potential matchups for the November general election:

  • Dayton: 35
  • Repub endorsee State Rep. Tom Emmer: 31
  • Independence Party endorsee Tom Horner: 9
  • Don’t know/refused/other:25

as compared to:

  • Emmer: 31
  • Kelliher: 29
  • Horner: 10
  • DK/refused: 30

as compared to:

  • Emmer: 32
  • Entenza: 28
  • Horner: 11
  • DK/refused: 29

A partial release of the polls findings is here. A detailed breakdown with crosstabs has not been published. In the MPR story on the poll, Larry Jacobs of the Humphrey Institute noted that — surprisingly — Dayton had a significant lead over Kelliher among female DFL primary likely voters.

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The total sample for the poll is 701 Minnesota adults, which means no likely voter screen was used. The size of the sample that answered the questions about DFL primary matchups is described in the MPR story as “likely DFL primary voters,” which must be significantly smaller than the total sample. The MPR story also said the margin of error for the big sample was plus or minus 5.8 percent, which means that none of the leads in the general election matchups come close to statistical signficance.