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Dayton, Franken have wide leads, new poll says

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A new poll says Democratic incumbents Gov. Mark Dayton and U.S. Sen. Al Franken have double-digit leads over the Republicans who are challenging them in the November election.

The survey, conducted by Public Policy Polling based in North Carolina, was released Tuesday. It shows Dayton garnering support from 47 percent of the respondents against all four of his potential GOP challengers – Jeff Johnson, Kurt Zellers, Marty Seifert and Scott Honour – while each of them got between 35 percent and 37 percent support.

Dayton also has nearly twice the campaign cash on hand as his four challengers combined, the Star Tribune reported Tuesday.

In the U.S. Senate race, Franken leads Republicans Mike McFadden by 49-38 percent, and Jim Abeler by 50-39 percent, in the latest poll.

The wide leads for the two first-term incumbents are partly due to the fact that their opponents are not well known, PPP pollster Tom Jensen told MPR News. Upwards of 60 percent of respondents had no opinions about the Republicans in either race.

After the August primary when the party unites behind one candidate in each race, he expects the polling numbers to get closer.

This new survey paints a different picture from one conducted by a different polling firm and released last week, which indicates both races are much closer.

That poll conducted by SurveyUSA and KSTP had Franken with a six-point lead over McFadden and Dayton with a six-point lead over Johnson.

Jensen, of Public Policy Polling, said the different results may have had to do with the fact that 57 percent of the SurveyUSA respondents were men, who are more likely to lean Republican, according to MPR News.

The PPP poll surveyed 633 registered voters in Minnesota from June 12-15. The margin for error is +/- 3.9 percent.

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