Poll shows Sen. Franken holds early lead over McFadden

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Incumbent DFL U.S. Senator Al Franken has jumped out to a 9-point lead over his Republican challenger, businessman and political newcomer Mike McFadden, who won the party endorsement in May.

KSTP's SurveyUSA poll shows Franken leading McFadden 51 percent to 42 percent. The poll, which surveyed 600 likely voters in Minnesota, was conducted in the week following the state's primary election earlier this month. It has a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percent.

The station's story compares Franken's current lead to the 2008 race that pitted Franken against GOP incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman. In September of that year, Coleman held a 10-point lead over Franken. Franken went on to win the seat in a recount by a razor-thin margin: 312 votes.

"This is very good news for Al Franken," Larry Jacobs, a political scientist at the University of Minnesota told the station. Jacobs expects McFadden and outside interest groups to pour large sums into funding the race.

In the days after the primary, the Associated Press noted that McFadden, a former investment banker, also has the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in his corner. The story noted that Rob Jesmer, a Republican consultant and former executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, also predicted that big money will flow into the race if polls show Franken's lead slipping.

"If the race becomes close, there's going to be money in Minnesota. The money finds these competitive races," Jesmer said.

McFadden has already started an ad blitz to introduce himself to Minnesota voters, including a commercial that showed him coaching a youth football team.

KSTP reported Monday that its poll showed a similar 9-point lead held by DFL Gov. Mark Dayton in his race with Republican challenger Jeff Johnson.

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