Gov. Mark Dayton indicates his preferred podium size. (
by Tony Petrangelo
Jan 24, 2013, 9:00 AM

Mark Dayton looking good for re-election

As I discussed in a post earlier in the week, Public Policy Polling released a poll concerning Minnesota politics. The first portion of the poll that was released dealt with questions pertaining to the 2014 Senate race between Al Franken and his as-yet-to-be-determined Republican opponent. The short story, as summarized in the title of that post, “Al Franken looking good for re-election.”

You might notice that the title of that previous post contains many elements familiar to readers of the title of this post. That is not an accident. The similarities of the titles is what is known in the profession as a literary device (which is a bit ironic, because I’m not a professional, and no one would mistake my prose for literature).

The point of this literary device is to point out the similarities between the two polls. And the point of this post is to discuss a poll so I’m going to get to that now.

Context; Governor Mark Dayton will be facing re-election in 2014. The Minnesota Republican Party is in disarray having suffered a humiliating election defeat in which all was lost and no hope remained. They will now try to find someone to run against Dayton in 2014 who won’t lose by 35 points. This poll examines some of their options, none of which appear to be particularly good.

PPP (1/23, no trendlines):

Mark Dayton (D-inc) 50
Tim Pawlenty (R) 42
Undecided 7

Mark Dayton (D-inc) 52
Norm Coleman (R) 39
Undecided 9

Mark Dayton (D-inc) 53
Keith Downey (R) 30
Undecided 18

Mark Dayton (D-inc) 53
Jeff Johnson (R) 29
Undecided 18

Mark Dayton (D-inc) 52
Kurt Zellers (R) 29
Undecided 19

Mark Dayton (D-inc) 52
Julie Rosen (R) 27
Undecided 21
(MoE: ±3%)

Eight points is the closest any of them come, and that’s almost certainly not going to run former Governor Tim Pawlenty. Against everyone else Mark Dayton is a few points north of 50% and well ahead.

Of course, of these opponents only Pawlenty and former Senator Norm Coleman are well known. Around 20% of people have an opinion of Jeff Johnson (7% favorable/11% unfavorable), Julie Rosen (8%/12%) and Keith Downey (5%/16%). The other 80% have no opinion. Kurt Zellers (9%/24%) is a little better known, but not much. His problem and Downey’s too, is that the people who do have an opinion don’t like them.

Of these Jeff Johnson is the only one who has made any noise about running, saying that he’s thinking about it.

Given the option of all the candidates above who would Minnesota Republicans most like to see as their Gubernatorial nominee?

PPP (1/22, no trendlines):

Norm Coleman 57
Keith Downey 4
David Hann 4
Jeff Johnson 4
Julie Rosen 5
Marty Seifert 4
Kurt Zellers 5
Someone else/Not sure 17
(MoE: ±5.9%)

This is actually rather surprising to me, but there you have it, Norm Coleman destroys the field. PPP didn’t offer Coleman as an option against Franken (because he’s already ruled a Senate run out) but these results make me curious how he would have done against Michele Bachmann in that question.

Whoever get’s the nomination the problem for the GOP will remain the same, more than 50% of Minnesotans approve of the job Mark Dayton has done as Governor. As long as that fact remains, it’s going to be quite the challenge to unseat him.

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