New poll has Doug Wardlow ahead of Keith Ellison in Attorney General race

The Star Tribune/MPR News poll has the Republican up by 7 points.
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Republican Doug Wardlow has pulled away from DFLer Keith Ellison in a latest poll for Attorney General, holding a 7 percent lead.

The Star Tribune and MPR News polled 800 likely voters in Minnesota, with 43 percent saying they prefer Wardlow for Attorney General compared to 36 percent for Ellison.

Ellison held a 5 percent lead in a September poll, but has seen his campaign beset by the allegation of domestic abuse made by former girlfriend Karen Monahan, which he denies, yet has become a major talking point of the Wardlow campaign.

However, the latest poll, which has a 3.5 percent sampling error, was conducted on Oct. 15-17, mostly before the release of Keith Ellison's 2012 divorce file on Oct. 17, which contained no allegations of domestic abuse against the candidate

It's also worth noting that Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis candidate Noah Johnson polled 5 percent, and he has already told his supporters to vote for Ellison instead of him.

Nonetheless it presents a worrying sign for Democrats that it could be about to lose control of an office it has held since 1972.

The poll revealed that Ellison held the lead in Minnesota's most populous counties, Hennepin and Ramsey, but Wardlow had the edge in every other county polled.

That's despite having less name recognition than Ellison, with MPR reporting that the main takeaway from the poll is that the 7-point gap is more a reflection of the negative view people have about Ellison than the positive view they have about Wardlow.

Wardlow's campaign has not been without controversy either. Audio has emerged from speeches Wardlow has given in the past in which he espoused anti-same-sex marriage views, as well as pledging to "fire 42 DFL attorneys" the moment he takes office, despite pledging to be non-partisan if elected.

His campaign has also been criticized by faith leaders by issuing campaign mailers containing Islamaphobic claims about Ellison.

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