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Way early polls show Franken, Dayton in pretty good shape for reelection

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:

Senate race

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.

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Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/31/2013 - 03:31 pm.

    I doubt that the QB splits

    are -statistically- significant, at least for the first two choices within parties, given the margins of error that they cite. They don’t actually state whether any differences were statistically significant by a null hypothesis test, much less a Bayesian analysis (the currently favored approach).

  2. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 11/01/2013 - 12:12 pm.


    Why is there such a difference between Democrats and Republicans on Josh Freeman? What could it be? Maybe we should ask Rush Limbaugh.

  3. Submitted by John Edwards on 11/01/2013 - 07:58 pm.

    So much for polls

    Mother Jones, a publication for those on the far left, recently reported on the results from liberals James Carville and Stan Greenberg’s Democracy Corps that said in part: “In Democratic districts, net incumbent approval has plummeted by 11 points, from +8 approval to +3 disapproval. In Republican districts, incumbent approval has gone down only 4 points. You see the same results when they ask a question about warmth of feeling toward incumbents: It’s down 7 points in Republican districts and 9 points in Democratic districts.”

    They must not have sampled anybody in Minnesota.

    I don’t know what David Galitz used for his comment but according to the revered-by-liberals fivethirtyeight blog, PPP ranked 15th among 23 firms in 2012 accuracy.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 11/02/2013 - 11:29 pm.

      The only poll that really counts . . . . . .

      generally happens on the first Tuesday in November.

    • Submitted by Dan Hintz on 11/04/2013 - 05:21 am.

      Understanding polling

      The reason that Nate Silver is “revered-by-liberals” is because his analysis is so accurate. He picked every single state correctly in the 2012 presidential race. If conservatives were smart, they would revere him as well.

      In the 2012 race, PPP overrepresented Republican support by 1.6 percentage points. While a number of polling outfits did better, this pales in comparison to the wildly inaccuate polling of Republican pollsters Rasmussen (off 4 percent) and Gallup (off 7 percent). I think Franken and Dayton feel pretty good about PPP’s numbers.

      As for Mother Jones, those numbers are for “battleground” U.S. House districts, which obviously does not cover Dayton or Franken.

      If you want to disbelieve polls and tell yourself that Franken and Dayton really aren’t in good shape, knock yourself out.

  4. Submitted by Ed Day on 11/03/2013 - 09:01 pm.

    Mother Jones

    Why would a publication in league with liberals bother to publish information that weakens the cause?

    fivethirtyeight has generally received a lot of praise from everyone for its accuracy, so concerns about PPP are valid. However, in this case, it looks like name recognition for Dayton and Franken carried the day. That will undoubtedly change after a real opponent is nominated.

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