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Poll: Franken, Dayton have 6-point leads over potential challengers

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DFL incumbents in the state's two most high-profile political races – for governor and U.S. Senate – have just 6-point leads against GOP challengers, a new KSTP/SurveyUSA poll says.

University of Minnesota political science professor Larry Jacobs called the survey a "cannon burst" into the U.S. Senate race, and if it remains close, the contest could attract millions in campaign money from outside groups, Jacobs notes.

The poll shows DFL Sen. Al Franken leading GOP-endorsed challenger Mike McFadden 48 to 42 percent. Franken holds a 48-to-39 percent lead over another GOP candidate, state Rep. Jim Abeler, who remains in the race without the party endorsement. The GOP primary is in August.

"The fact that even Jim Abeler is only nine points behind Al Franken indicates there appears to be a solid base of opposition to Al Franken," Jacobs told KSTP.

Gov. Mark Dayton has "a real fight" on his hands, too, Jacobs said, with a 6-point lead over The GOP-endorsed challenger Jeff Johnson. Dayton holds a 7-point lead over former House Speaker Kurt Zellers.

Johnson and Zellers are in a dead heat in the primary race, both with 23 percent among likely GOP voters, the KSTP/SurveyUSA poll shows.

Dayton held a sizable fundraising lead over his challengers as of the end of March.

Both Dayton and Franken survived very close elections that included recounts.

The poll also showed 68 percent of Minnesotans are opposed to a new $77 million Senate office building approved by state lawmakers this year.

SurveyUSA interviewed 2,200 Minnesota adults between June 5 and June 9.

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