Gov. Mark Dayton has a comfortable lead over potential opponents, according to a new poll conducted by KSTP and SurveyUSA.
KSTP asked Minnesota registered voters about six hypothetical head-to-head matchups for governor. With eight months to go before Election Day, Dayton led potential GOP rivals anywhere from 17 to 21 points.
Marty Seifert was the governor's closest competitor in the poll, trailing in a matchup with Dayton, 51 percent to 34 percent, with 15 percent undecided. Seifert, who announced state Rep. Pam Myhra as his running mate last week, won a GOP straw poll last month.
Against each hypothetical opponent, Dayton polled between 51 percent and 53 percent. The potential GOP opponents polled as follows: Dave Thompson, 32 percent; Scott Honour, 33 percent; Jeff Johnson, 34 percent; Kurt Zellers, 31 percent; and Rob Farnsworth, 31 percent.
Dayton is seeking a second term in office. Despite some big challenges, including the trouble-plagued rollout of the new MNsure health insurance exchange, a poll conducted by the Star Tribune in February showed Dayton's highest job approval rating of his term. Dayton named chief of staff Tina Flint Smith as his running mate last month.
KSTP and SurveyUSA polled 545 registered voters in the state of Minnesota. The margin of error for each poll question was plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.