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Election 2008: Minnesota Senate
Coleman Tops Franken 43% to 39% in Minnesota

With the election just six days away, incumbent Republican Norm Coleman is back in front of Democratic challenger Al Franken – with his biggest lead since April -- in the U.S. Senate race in Minnesota.

Coming off what many view as his strongest debate performance of the campaign last Thursday, Coleman leads Franken 43% to 39% in the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of voters in the state.

Independent candidate Dean Barkley is favored by 14%. Four percent (4%) remain undecided.

Coleman’s lead is within the margin of error and the race has additional uncertainty due to the presence of a solid third party candidate.

A week ago Franken had a four-point lead, 41% to 37%, and Barkley, the wild card in the race, registered 17% support. The lead has gone back and forth between the two major party candidates since July, but the comedy writer and longtime Democratic activist has been ahead in all surveys in October.

But the latest survey, taken Tuesday night, shows Coleman solidifying his GOP base by taking votes from Barkley and also pulling Democratic votes away from Franken. In between the two surveys, the Republican, who is seeking a second term in the Senate, also picked up a surprise endorsement from the state’s leading newspaper, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Barkley is supported by 10% of Democrats and five percent (5%) of Republicans. That’s a three-point gain among Democrats and a loss of five among GOP voters from last week’s survey.

Thirty-four percent (34%) of unaffiliated voters support Coleman, while 29% back Barkley and 27% Franken. These numbers remain largely the same compared to a week ago.

Coleman has a two-point lead among male voters and a seven-point lead among women. A week ago the two candidates were tied among men, and Franken was ahead by eight points among women voters.

Ten percent (10%) of those who plan to vote for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama support Coleman, while just four percent (4%) of those who plan to vote for Republican John McCain support Franken. Seventeen percent (17%) of would-be Obama voters and eight percent (8%) of likely McCain voters back Barkley.

The latest numbers in the presidential race from Minnesota will be released at 5 pm Eastern today.

Coleman also has been campaigning with the state’s highly popular Republican governor, Tim Pawlenty. Fifty-three percent (53%) of Minnesota voters say Pawlenty is doing a good or excellent job. Just 17% rate his performance as poor.

Fifty-one percent (51%) have a favorable view of Coleman, up five from last week, while 48% regard him unfavorably, down two. Franken is viewed favorably by 47%, down four from a week ago, and unfavorably by 51%, up four. Barkley’s favorables are 53%, his unfavorables 33%, a four-point increase in the latter while the former is largely unchanged.

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Toss-Up

This telephone survey of 500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports October 28, 2008. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.


Minnesota Trends: Coleman vs. Franken

Date

Coleman

Franken

10/28/2008

43%

39%

37%

41%

37%

43%

48%

47%

45%

45%

44%

43%

42%

44%

48%

45%

47%

45%

50%

43%

48%

46%

46%

49%


Favorable Ratings For Senate Candidates in Minnesota

 

Coleman

Franken

Very Favorable

24%

18%

Somewhat Favorable

27%

29%

Somewhat Unfavorable

26%

13%

Very Unfavorable

22%

38%

Not Sure

1%

2%


Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.

The Rasmussen Reports ElectionEdge™ Premium Service for Election 2008 offers the most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a Presidential election.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.