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New poll finds drop in approval ratings for Dayton, Franken

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Heading into the election season, DFL incumbents Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Al Franken have both seen their approval ratings drop beneath the key 50 percent threshold that is often regarded as critical to re-election.

KSTP's SurveyUSA poll finds that Gov. Dayton's approval rating stands at 49 percent. The poll, which surveyed 600 Minnesotans statewide, found 40 percent disapproving and 12 percent not sure. The first-term governor has had a high profile during the current legislative session, which has seen controversy over an anti-bullying bill, medical marijuana and continuing focus on the MNsure health exchange.

The poll found Sen. Franken's approval rating stands at 46 percent, with 42 percent disapproving and 13 percent not sure.

The KSTP/SurveyUSA poll was conducted April 4 through April 7. It also notes that Pres. Barack Obama's approval rating has fallen to 36 percent in Minnesota, with 54 percent disapproving and 10 percent not sure. That's down from a 55 percent approval rating in Sept. 2009.

"The approval rating that Barack Obama now has in Minnesota are possibly fatal for a number of Democrats running for re-election," Larry Jacobs of the U of M's Humphrey Institute told the station.

The numbers show a decline in approval ratings from a previous statewide poll. A February Minnesota Poll published by the Star Tribune found Gov. Mark Dayton with the highest job approval rating of his term. That poll found that 58 percent of Minnesotans approving of Dayton's job performance, with 29 percent saying they disapprove.

The February Minnesota Poll also showed Sen. Franken with a 55 percent approval rating at the time, but a climbing disapproval rating. The poll found that Franken's disapproval numbers had climbed to 34 percent, up from 29 percent in a poll taken last June.

Both Dayton and Franken are heading into re-election campaigns with multiple Republican challengers. In a non-binding straw poll conducted at GOP precinct caucuses this winter, former state Rep. Marty Seifert led the race to win the nomination to challenge Gov. Dayton, while state Sen. Julianne Ortman was the favorite among GOP caucus attendees to run against Franken. The GOP candidates might face bruising endorsement battles in selecting the candidates who will ultimately be on the November
ballot.

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