Dave Paleologos, Director, Suffolk University Political Research Center (urbusinessnetwork.com).
by Tony Petrangelo
Apr 29, 2014, 5:00 PM

Suffolk University polls Minnesota for the first time

Suffolk University released a poll of the Minnesota political scene today. If you don’t look at many non-Minnesota polls you may be thinking, I’ve never heard of Suffolk, who are they?

The Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston, established in 2002, conducts statewide polls and bellwether survey analyses in Massachusetts, other states, and nationally. It examines statewide political races and analyzes voters’ opinions on key issues. States SUPRC has polled include: New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Nevada, Colorado, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Missouri, Kentucky, Oregon and Indiana.

As you can see from the above text captured from their website on this very day, the states they have polled do not include Minnesota. This is why a connoisseur of Minnesota polls may not have heard of Suffolk. Until today that piece of text may well have been accurate, but it is no longer so as Suffolk University has now polled Minnesota.

For a little further background on Suffolk, this article is a good start:

With a little less than a month until the election, one pollster says the race in three battleground states is over for President Barack Obama.

“I think in places like North Carolina, Virginia and Florida, we’ve already painted those red,” David Paleologos, the president of Suffolk University Political Research Center told Fox host Bill O’Reilly on Tuesday. “We’re not polling any of those states again. We’re focusing on the remaining states.”

As you may remember, President Obama won Virginia and Florida and barely lost North Carolina. But three weeks before that happened the guy running Suffolk’s polling operation decided that those states were firmly in the Romney column and not worth polling anymore.

Not only did Obama win two of those three states that Suffolk had already “painted red”, those three states ended up being three of the four closest of all the states.


State Obama margin
Florida 0.88%
North Carolina -2.04%
Ohio 2.98%
Virginia 3.87%
Colorado 5.37%

So yea, that’s the Suffolk University Political Research Center as directed by David Paleologos.

With the introduction out of the way, onto the poll.

Suffolk (4/29, no trend lines):

I am going to read you a list of individuals in state and national politics. For each, please tell me if your opinion of them is generally favorable or generally unfavorable.

Candidate Favorable Unfavorable Undecided Never heard of
Mark Dayton 46 36 13 6
Kurt Zellers 16 13 28 44
Marty Seifert 15 11 30 45
Dave Thompson 12 5 18 65
Jeff Johnson 9 5 19 68
Rob Farnsworth 5 5 19 70
Scott Honour 6 5 15 75
Al Franken 46 41 10 3
Julianne Ortman 12 8 21 59
Mike McFadden 8 6 24 62
Jim Abeler 9 5 20 67
Chris Dahlberg 8 4 20 68

(MoE: ±3.5%)

Mark Dayton and Al Franken’s favorable numbers in this poll look very similar to Mark Dayton and Al Franken’s approval numbers in the recent SurveyUSA poll of the state. That poll had Mark Dayton at a 49-40 spread, similar to the 46-36 spread Suffolk gives him. Likewise Al Franken was at 46-42 in the SurveyUSA poll and is at 46-41 in this one.

When it comes to the mass of Republicans running to get on the ballot against Mark Dayton and Al Franken, none of them have yet broken through. The most well known of the bunch, Kurt Zellers and Marty Seifert, are still not known by almost half of registered voters in Minnesota and among those who have heard of them, half have yet to form an opinion.

This is pretty much in line with all the prior polling that’s come out and since the campaigns have yet to really get underway, it’s not really that surprising.

They asked some head to head questions for these races as well. Al Franken leads all four Republicans, anywhere from 45-28 to 44-29, while Mark Dayton leads all six Republicans anywhere from 45-28 to 43-32.

But given the lack of overall name recognition that the GOP fields in both races suffer from, there’s really not much interesting in these results, yet they are presented below, for the sake of completeness.

Suffolk (4/29, no trend lines):

Candidate % Dayton %
Kurt Zellers 31 43
Marty Seifert 32 43
Dave Thompson 31 43
Jeff Johnson 30 44
Scott Honour 28 45
Rob Farnsworth 28 45
Candidate % Franken %
Julianne Ortman 29 44
Mike McFadden 29 44
Jim Abler 29 45
Chris Dahlberg 28 45

(MoE: ±3.5%)

Suffolk also looked at a potential Republican primary in both races, and given the low name recognition of the Republican candidates over 60% of respondents were undecided in both contests. The breakdown of those numbers:

Suffolk (4/29, no trend lines):

For the Republican Primary for Governor, at this point for whom will you vote
Marty Seifert 10
Kurt Zellers 8
Jeff Johnson 7
Dave Thompson 6
Scott Honour 2
Robert Farnsworth 1
Undecided 67

For the Republican Primary for U.S. Senate, at this point for whom will you vote
Julianne Ortman 14
Mike McFadden 12
Jim Abler 8
Chris Dahlberg 2
Undecided 63
(MoE: ±3.5%)

If you’re looking for a conclusion, this poll looks very similar to most of the polling that has been released on these two races; Mark Dayton and Al Franken are not setting the world on fire, but the Republicans running against them are also not doing that. And they are not doing that to a larger degree.

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