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Al Franken
"Doggone it, people like me."

Public Policy Polling (PDF). 1/21-22. Minnesota voters. MoE ±2.8% (5/27-30 in parentheses):

Amy Klobuchar (D-inc): 54 (54)
Tim Pawlenty (R): 39 (41)
Undecided: 7 (5)

Amy Klobuchar (D-inc): 58 (57)
Michele Bachmann (R): 35 (37)
Undecided: 7 (5)

Amy Klobuchar (D-inc): 55 (56)
Dan Severson (R): 32 (28)
Undecided: 13 (16)

Amy Klobuchar (D-inc): 55
Joe Arwood (R): 30
Undecided: 15

Amy Klobuchar (D-inc): 55
Anthony Hernandez (R): 29
Undecided: 16

At this point, a poll showing Democratic incumbent Amy Klobuchar in firm command of this year's Minnesota Senate race should come as no surprise. Every poll last year (from both Public Policy Polling and SurveyUSA) had her over the 50 percent mark, even against top-tier Republican candidates with no intention of running. Today's release from PPP is no exception: She sports a stellar 61/28 approval rating, while her numbers are basically unchanged from the last poll in June.

Minnesota's two contributions to the Republican presidential primary both limp home with favorables in tatters: Ex-Gov. Tim Pawlenty is at 39/50 (with 39 for and 51 against a future run for him for statewide office), and Rep. Michele Bachmann is at an even worse 34/57 (with 37 for and 57 against her even bothering to return for another term in the House ... though, of course, bear in mind that the state as a whole is much more liberal than her district of MN-06). Neither of them, however, has shown any inclination to run against Klobuchar now that they have some time on their hands (Bachmann, in fact, has deferred answers on the question of whether she'll be even running for her old House seat again).

Against her actual cut-rate opposition (ex-State Rep. Dan Severson, St. Bonifacius city councilor Joe Arwood, and Anthony Hernandez, who is Some Dude with a vaguely-inspiring-backstory personified, she wins easily ... though by the same-sized margin as against Bachmann, just with more undecideds.

Al Franken (D-inc): 49
Tim Pawlenty (R): 43
Undecided: 8

Al Franken (D-inc): 54
Michele Bachmann (R): 39
Undecided: 7

The more intriguing part of this poll may well be the good position that Al Franken, theoretically a more polarizing figure than Klobuchar, finds himself in. Contrary to the Beltway conventional wisdom—which supposes that when the allegedly-flukily-elected Franken has to stand for reelection for the first time in 2014, it will be a tossup if not Republican-leaning affair as Norm Coleman seeks his revenge or T-Paw regains his mojo—PPP finds Franken with a decent lead against Pawlenty and a monster lead against the now-toxic Bachmann. (They didn't test a Coleman rematch.) Franken has a strong 49/39 approval, which, if that holds up, may give potential top-tier Republican challengers pause about taking him on.

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