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Poll finds Dayton, Franken have early leads, but many undecided

Republican hopefuls in the Senate and governor races still not well known, poll shows.

A new poll from Suffolk University (pdf) takes an early look at the still-shaping-up Minnesota political climate ahead of the November elections, and the numbers look good for incumbents Sen. Al Franken and Gov. Mark Dayton.

Republicans can take heart that there are many undecided voters at this stage, but GOP contenders for those spots have an identification problem with voters.

The poll contacted 800 likely voters in the past few days.

Some highlights:

  • Franken has a 15 to 16 percent lead in matchups with each of the Republican candidates
  • Dayton’s lead is 12 to 17 percent over his the potential challengers
  • In both cases, though, there are significant undecideds
  • Of those planning to vote in a Republican primary for governor, Marty Seifert got 10 percent, Kurt Zellers, 8 percent and Jeff Johnson, 7 percent. Undecided: 67 percent.
  • Of those planning to vote in Republican Senate primary, Julianne Ortman got 14 percent; Mike McFadden. 12 percent and Jim Abeler, 8 percent. Undecided: 63 percent.
  • Of the 89 people who said they’d likely attend a GOP presidential caucus,  Jeb Bush and Rick Perry were favored by 15 percent; Ted Cruz and Chris Christie each had 9 percent.
  • Of the 100 who said they’d likely attend the Democratic caucuses gave Hillary Clinton got 63 percent; Elizabeth Warren had 10 percent.
  • Half of those in the poll said Minnesota’s economy has improved over the past two years; 21 percent said it was worse and 25 percent said it was the same.