Skip to main content

Minnesota Poll finds conflicting views of Sen. Al Franken

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Fellow Democrats approve of the job that first-term DFL U.S. Sen. Al Franken is doing, but the number of Republicans who are dissatisfied with him is on the rise.

That's one of the findings of the most recent Star Tribune Minnesota Poll. The newspaper story accompanying the findings concluded that Minnesota's junior senator is "a divisive figure" as he heads into the campaign leading up to the November election.

Franken won a 55 percent approval rating from voters. At the same time, Franken’s job disapproval rating rose to 34 percent, up from 29 percent last June. Franken’s numbers are highest in Hennepin and Ramsey counties, where 68 percent approve of the job he is doing. In the suburbs, his approval rating drops to 58 percent. Outstate, that number falls to 42 percent. Conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc., the poll surveyed interviewed 800 Minnesota adults Feb. 10-12, and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Franken was elected in 2008 in one of the tightest elections in state history, winning after a recount found that he had several hundred votes more than former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman. Franken was one of eight Democrats who captured Senate seats that had been held by Republicans. Those senators are now defending themselves for supporting Obama's Affordable Care Act.

While Franken has sought to downplay his background as a comedian, he has relied friendships from his days in show business to assist with fundraising. Actor Jon Hamm, star of "Mad Men," will be featured at a Franken fundraiser in Minneapolis on Feb. 21. Last year, talk show host Conan O'Brian held a fundraiser for Franken in Los Angeles.

In precinct caucuses earlier this month, st. Sen. Julianne Ortman won a non-binding straw poll of Minnesota Republicans, beating businessman Mike McFadden, who has raised far more in campaign contributions. McFadden had a war chest of $1.7 million at the end of 2013. Ortman has raised $250,000. Ortman has said she would abide by the party's endorsement process, but McFadden has not ruled out a primary run if he does not capture the GOP endorsement.

Other Republicans in the race include st. Rep. Jim Abeler, St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg, Monti Moreno and Harold Shudlick. Independent candidate Hannah Nicollet, a former backer of Sen. Ron Paul, has also declared her candidacy.

On Sunday, the Star Tribune reported its latest polling regarding incumbent DFL Gov. Mark Dayton. Heading into the November campaign, Dayton, 67, showed the highest job approval rating of his term. The poll found that 58 percent of Minnesotans approve of the job that Dayton is doing, with 29 percent saying they disapprove. That ranking is up one percentage point from June, when Dayton’s approval rating stood at 57 percent and his disapproval number was 31 percent.

Next Up


Late cancellation of music festival leaves bad blood in Two Harbors

The cancellation announcement says the promoter walked away from the gig after being harassed by some local residents.

Screen Shot 2022-08-12 at 1.58.08 PM

Fatal crash shuts down southbound I-35 north of Twin Cities

A massive backup has built in wake of the fatal crash.

Christopher Keyes

Prolific speeder charged in crash that killed woman, 75, in Plymouth

The man has seven speeding tickets dating back to 2019.

minneapolis police

Hunt for suspect who broke into apartment, fatally stabbed man

The homicide is the 57th to happen this year in the city.

minnesota state fair

How to save money at the Minnesota State Fair this year

The fair released its money-saving tips Thursday, including on parking, admission and entertainment.

Motel 6 Rochester

Threat of 'potential overdoses' among youths prompts Motel 6 raid

Rochester police says fentanyl pills were among the items seized.

boyd huppert

Boyd Huppert, Twin Cities TV stations among Murrow Award winners

The KARE 11 personality known for his 'Land of 10,000 Stories' feature was among the national winners.

Bar beer

Study: Excessive drinking cost Minnesotans almost $8 billion in 2019

The study was published by the Minnesota Department of Health Thursday.


Price of Disney+ is going up, unless you want ads

The ad-free version of Disney+ will increase from $7.99 per month to $10.99 per month, effective Dec. 8.


Mall of America shooting suspects arrested in Chicago

The two suspects were spotted leaving a barber shop.