Poll shows Minnesota preferences for governor, senator, president

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Minnesotans favor the incumbents who are running as governor and senator, but a new poll finds in the 2016 race for the White House where there is no incumbent in the face, candidates with names of previous incumbents are prevailing.

MPR News has the results of a poll of 800 likely voters from the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. The survey, conducted from last Thursday through this Monday, has a 3.5 percent margin of error.

The story says that while DFL'ers Mark Dayton and Al Franken are running well ahead of their Republican challengers, neither incumbent Democrat is drawing more than 50 percent support, seen as a critical threshold for a candidate's strength. One in four voters said they were undecided on the governor’s race; it's one in five in the Senate race. The Pioneer Press notes that Dayton leads his Republican challengers by between 12 and 18 percentage points, while Franken is ahead of GOP opponents by 15 to 16 points

Most Republicans polled are undecided in the GOP governor and Senate nomination battles; 62 percent in the Senate race, 67 percent in the governor’s race. Franken faces Republican challengers State Sen. Julianne Ortman, State Rep. Jim Abeler, businessman Mike McFadden, and St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg. Republicans vying to run against Dayton are state Sen. Dave Thompson, state Rep. Kurt Zellers, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, former state Rep. Marty Seifert and businessman Scott Honour.

KSTP notes that when the poll asked about which presidential candidates Minnesotans favor, familiar names are at the top. The poll found 15 percent of Republican caucus-goers named former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Texas Gov. Rick Perry as their first choice. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the overwhelming favorite among possible Democratic candidates, including Vice President Joe Biden.

When questioned about issues, almost 50 percent of the sample said Minnesota’s economy has improved in the past two years, while 21 percent said it has worsened; on the Affordable Care Act, often called “Obamacare,” 45 percent said it’s generally bad for Minnesota and 41 percent said it is good.

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