MinnPoll: Coleman, Franken both lose support

posted at 2:10 pm on September 15, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Both candidates for the Minnesota Senate seat have gone on the attack over the last few weeks, with incumbent Norm Coleman hitting Al Franken for his temperament and his tax evasion, and Franken firing shots at Coleman for being too close to George Bush.  Who’s winning this exchange?  So far, it looks like … Dean Barkley:

The sniping between Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and DFLer Al Franken is paying off big time for one of the U.S. Senate candidates — latecomer Dean Barkley.

A new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll finds that support for the two leading candidates has eroded significantly since May, but that Coleman has sustained more damage. His lead over Franken has narrowed from seven percentage points in the spring to four now — 41 percent to 37 percent — just as one of the nation’s most combative and expensive Senate races enters its final phase.

The beneficiary of the crossfire is Barkley, the Independence Party nominee who registers a robust support level of 13 percent among the 1,106 likely voters polled. He’s been campaigning for only two months, mostly on his own shoe leather and the dim memory among voters that he served briefly in the U.S. Senate.

Dim describes Barkley’s experience, although that’s not Barkley’s fault.  Instead of appointing election winner Coleman to complete the term of the deceased Paul Wellstone, who died just a few weeks before the 2002 elections in a campaign plane crash, then-Governor Jesse Ventura picked the little-known Barkley to Wellstone’s seat instead.  That gave Jesse one last opportunity to stick his thumb in the eye of Minnesota Republicans, and lost Minnesota the chance to gain a little more seniority for its freshman Senator and perhaps gain better committee assignments.

Coleman lost ground to Franken since the last MinnPoll, but Franken has to be very concerned to see these numbers.  He hasn’t polled above 40% yet in this race, indicating a hard cap on his potential support.  While Barkley took more from Coleman than Franken in this last period, Barkley serves to split the anti-incumbent vote and dilute Franken’s ability to gain traction on Coleman.

He shouldn’t expect much of a respite, either.  Republicans plan to hit Franken hard in the next few days over the scandal involving the misuse of funds by Air America that were intended for use by the Gloria Wise Girls & Boys Clubs, money that wound up in Franken’s pockets, although not controlled by him.  They will add that scandal to the already well-known tax problems Franken faces from his incompetent management of his own personal corporations.

Coleman needs to tack more to the positive, however, if he wants to return to the near-majority numbers he previously reached.  Coleman has a good track record in the Senate for moderate Minnesotans to discover, including his excellent work in detailing the extent of the UN Oil-for-Food scandal that put billions of dollars into Saddam Hussein’s pockets.  He has been a more independent voice in Congress than Democrats want to admit, but until Coleman plans a major effort on positive ad buys, Minnesotans won’t learn about it.  Certainly, they won’t find that in the Strib’s coverage.


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Comments

What does that say about your state if Frenken wins, Ed? It’s bad enough that you have the Vikings.

BadgerHawk on September 15, 2008 at 2:02 PM

if Franken has any shot within 10 points of winning Minnesota, Mccain shouldn’t bother spending money there and it was stupid to have convention in fruitcakeville. Would’ve been better served to go after a real Purple state like the dems did with colorado

jp on September 15, 2008 at 2:05 PM

Moral of the story: Never, ever, ask Al Franken for advice…..

Mcguyver on September 15, 2008 at 2:12 PM

Rino Coleman vs Liberal Franken

I’ll vote for Coleman, but not a lot to get excited about.

RJL on September 15, 2008 at 2:15 PM

Hard to believe Franken could poll as high as 37% in any sample of people with functioning brains and ordinary human value systems.

whitetop on September 15, 2008 at 2:19 PM

Shallow comment of the day: Coleman looks creepy. I honestly cannot bear to look at the guy. That being said, I still hope he wins; Franken is an ass.

HawaiiLwyr on September 15, 2008 at 2:23 PM

I’m not worried about this. Dean Barkley’s support will plummet the minute he actually opens his mouth in a public forum where people are paying attention to him. He’s a dolt. Norm will right the ship and will win going away.

Mr. D on September 15, 2008 at 2:23 PM

Minnesota like Vermont has an independant streak. They like to back outsiders that arent from either party.

But Barkley wont get much higher as he is no Jessie Ventura and also Jessie Ventura taught Minnesota what it gets for backing an independant.

William Amos on September 15, 2008 at 2:28 PM

Lots of brain dead stupid voters out there! john kerrey came within less than 200,000 votes of winning in 2004. Millions of obamazombies we have to fight against this time around.

CH on September 15, 2008 at 2:29 PM

HawaiiLwyr on September 15, 2008 at 2:23 PM

Lets say Franken wins. That State is going to die fast.

Let’s get Ed out of MN and hope MN doesn’t totally deflate on everything. Looks like MN is going the way of Michigan in the worst case senerio.

upinak on September 15, 2008 at 2:29 PM

We can’t afford to lose ONE seat and Coleman needs to get his campaign on the right track.

originalpechanga on September 15, 2008 at 2:31 PM

Franken polled only around 65% in last weeks primary election. Even his “base” can’t stand him.

Skipper50 on September 15, 2008 at 2:31 PM

37%. Are you kidding?

Kevin71 on September 15, 2008 at 3:05 PM

Coleman, wake up, look what is working and what is not. Dissing Palin is not working, dissing your opponent won’t work. You force people do defend Franken.
Start focusing on what will work, you have to mirror what is successful.
Start talking about closing up tax loopholes so no one will be able to dodge the taxes and make the innocent pay. Without naming Franken, you put him in that category.
Talk about raising your kids in a clean environment, free from obscenity, we have enough screaming at home, we don’t need it in politics. You are going to reach across the aisle and change the way politics are. Without naming him, you just put Franken on notice as being rude, filth-mouthed and partisan.
Coleman, stop, listen, and look, at what is being successful…don’t be stupid.

right2bright on September 15, 2008 at 3:53 PM

OMG. You need to get a better picture of Coleman for your website. He looks like the “Sidler” from Seinfeld. Remember the character that Elaine gave Tic Tacs to because he’d sidle up behind her in meetings and take credit for her work?

Sensible Mom on September 15, 2008 at 4:24 PM

Although far fetched, I wouldn’t put it past the voters to put Barkley in office. There’s a reason he got along with Jesse. He’s just as insane.

oakpack on September 15, 2008 at 4:59 PM

Is there a chance Canada would take this state?

flyoverland on September 15, 2008 at 5:16 PM

I think there’s a coup in the near future. I’ve heard rumblings out of Pierre and Bismark of an East Dakota.

oakpack on September 15, 2008 at 5:41 PM

I think there’s a coup in the near future. I’ve heard rumblings out of Pierre and Bismark of an East Dakota.
 
oakpack on September 15, 2008 at 5:41 PM

 

Oakpack, are you serious?!?! That would be astonishing. Got linkies? I want to read up on this, because I’ve heard similar rumors about other states. (No/SoCal was a rumored split for years, but I don’t think it’ll ever happen, unless we come to blows over water rights.)

Mary in LA on September 15, 2008 at 6:05 PM

Hard to believe Franken could poll as high as 37% in any sample of people with functioning brains and ordinary human value systems.

whitetop on September 15, 2008 at 2:19 PM

That is probably very close to the floor number for a liberal in a fairly liberal state. Coleman did not help matters with his ability to make people not like him.

Hawthorne on September 15, 2008 at 6:36 PM

Oh ya Mary. I’m tellin ya. It’s really gonna happen this time. Personally, being a huge Packer fan, I’d rather go with West Wisconsin.

oakpack on September 15, 2008 at 9:12 PM

When I saw the headline, I thought “Not Jesse…?”

eeyore on September 15, 2008 at 10:43 PM

Oh ya Mary. I’m tellin ya. It’s really gonna happen this time. Personally, being a huge Packer fan, I’d rather go with West Wisconsin.
 
oakpack on September 15, 2008 at 9:12 PM

 
Ah. You weren’t serious, then. Oh, well, not the first time I’ve been foolish, and certainly not the last.
 
Anyway, if you’re at all curious about the proposals to split California, there’s a short summary here. Such proposals have been put forward more than two dozen times in the history of the state.
 
The split will probably never happen, which is just as well, as I have no doubt that both halves of California would be just as relentlessly blue as the current original.

Mary in LA on September 16, 2008 at 2:04 PM