It’s way early to pay much attention to such things, but for the obsessed and with plenty of salt added, Public Policy Polling finds both Gov. Mark Dayton and U.S. Sen. Al Franken with double-digit leads a year before they will be up for reelection.
Several reasons for salt before I give you the numbers: PPP is often viewed as a Dem-leaning pollster; Franken and Dayton are much better known than any of their challengers; the election is slightly more than a year away, and the challengers have scarcely begun to outline their arguments for replacing the incumbents. But the truly obsessed are always trying to figure out which races might be close, and this is what they base it on (so they can even be slightly self-fulfilling prophecies).
With all that boring responsible stuff out of the way, PPP found:
Franken has a 51 percent approval rating, with 43 percent disapproving. When matched against some of the likely or announced Republican challengers, he leads them all by least 10 points, and the margins are nearly identical, specifically 49-39 over Chris Dahlberg, 49-38 over Mike McFadden, 50-39 over Jim Abeler, 49-37 against Julianne Ortman and 49-36 over Monti Moreno. PPP’s writeup says:
Because none of the Republicans have better than 25% name recognition there’s potential for them to pull closer as they become better known. But for now Franken’s in a pretty strong position.
When asked whom they would prefer as their candidate against Franken, 53 percent said they were unsure, so the meaningless numbers among the “sure” Republicans start with a tie between Abeler and Ortman at 12 percent.
Dayton has an above-water (but not above 50 percent) approval/disapproval figure of 48/42 percent approvers/disapprovers.
In head-to-heads with his prospective Repubulican challengers, he leads 48-38 over Scott Honour and Kurt Zellers, 48-37 over Jeff Johnson, Marty Seifert and Dave Thompson, and 48/36 over Julie Rosen.
As in the Senate race, the race for the Repub guv nomination is fairly meaningless cluster with Zellers leading at 12 percent but training undecided by a mile.
Something to Ponder
Believe it or not, PPP also found a significant partisan split on the question of whom should have the dubious honor of starting at quarterback for the Vikings. Quoting from the PPP writeup:
Republicans prefer Christian Ponder, with 34% picking him to 30% for Matt Cassel, and Josh Freeman in a distant 3rd at 13%. But with Democrats, Freeman is the first choice at 30% to 27% for Ponder and 21% for Cassel.
The full writeup also covers President Obama’s and Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s approval rating among Minnesotans and fans’ feelings about whether Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire and Vikes’ Coach Leslie Frazier should keep their jobs.