It's a slow Senate news day today but PPP's latest poll shows U.S. Senator Al Franken (D. MN) in great shape for re-election:


Al Franken's in good shape heading into his reelection cycle. Our newest poll finds 52% of Minnesota voters approving of him to 41% who disapprove. Those solid numbers are pretty consistent with where we've found him for most of the last year. - PPP, 1/22/13
Franken crushes all GOP contenders tested in this poll.  He beats wealthy Congressman Erik Paulsen (R. MN-3) 50-39, Congressman John Kline (R. MN-2), 49-41, Former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman (R. MN) 50-44 and of course Tea Party Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R. MN-6) 54-40.  It's not surprising that Franken, who won his Senate seat in 2008 after a long recount against Coleman, has become a popular Senator looking safe for re-election.  Franken has transformed himself from the SNL/Bill O'Reilly teasing funny man to a work horse of a public servant.  In fact, Franken only speaks to Minnesota based press to assure his constituents that he is serious about representing the great state of Minnesota.  This has helped Franken so much with his approval ratings that even Coleman, who's declined to seek a rematch with Franken, doesn't think Franken can be beaten:


"You can't play handball in an open field. At this point there's been no candidate," said former GOP Sen. Norm Coleman, who lost to Franken in the 2008 race. "He's been pretty much invisible. In that sense he hasn't created a lot of enemies. I don't know if that's his strategy, but it's a pretty good strategy if it is.” - National Journal, 1/9/13
There are other factors that contribute to Franken's popularity:
Franken’s ground game, fundraising, and out-of-the-limelight approach help explain why. Franken's campaign coffers are flush with cash. His job-approval rating, according to the most recent September Star-Tribune poll, is a healthy 52 percent.  Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., romped to reelection last November, winning nearly every county in the expansive state. Franken has raised nearly $4 million for 2014, with nearly $1.3 million cash on hand. That would give him a healthy head start over his opposition. (By contrast, the Republican Party of Minnesota is still struggling with $1.5 million in debt.) - National Journal, 1/9/13
Franken also earned himself the nick name, "The Tea Party Whisperer" for how he calmly handled an angry Tea Party crowd at a local fair and defended his support for the Affordable Health Care Act:

Now here's the part of this poll that makes me laugh:

The top choice of GOP voters in Minnesota to take on Franken is Michele Bachmann. 45% say they would like her to be their candidate with no one else even coming close-  John Kline is at 19%, Chip Cravaack at 13%, Erik Paulsen at 11%, Laura Brod at 4%, and Rich Stanek at 2%. Bachmann fares equally strongly with voters in the party who identify as 'very conservative' (46%), 'somewhat conservative' (45%), and moderate (also 45%).

The problem with GOP voters in the state wanting Bachmann as their Senate standard bearer is that she does the worst of anyone we tested against Franken, trailing him 54/40, including a 50/39 deficit with independents. Only 35% of voters in the state have a positive opinion of her, compared to 59% who see her in a negative light. The desire of Minnesota Republicans to nominate Bachmann suggests they didn't learn much from their failures last year. - PPP, 1/22/13

Personally, I would love to see Bachmann go up against Franken.  We've learned from the 2012 election that the only way these nut ball Tea Party congressmen can go away is if they give up their seats and run for Senate.  That's why I'm hoping Steven King in Iowa and Virginia Foxx in North Carolina are crazy/stupid enough to run.  Yes their districts are red and most of them will go Republican but by making an asses of themselves on a national level will giver their constituents time to think.  Plus candidates like Foxx, King and Bachmann would have their asses handed to them in big elections like the U.S. Senate.  

Of course the GOP is coming up short with a top tier candidate but that's not going to stop Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers and right-wing Super PACs from dumping money into this race to defeat Al Franken.  If someone like Bachmann jumps in, she's going to need all the money she can get.  So lets help keep Al's war chest thriving, especially since he is one of the lead Senators fighting to overturn the Supreme Court's decision on Citizens United:


Originally posted to pdc on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 01:45 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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