According to a Quinnipiac poll taken last week, Al Franken (D) leads Norm Coleman (R) by 2% in the Minnesota race for U.S. Senate. Dean Barkley of the Independence Party trails Coleman by 18%. In a poll of 1,000 likely voters, a 2% lead hardly represents “safe” territory for challenger Franken. However, considering that Coleman is the incumbent, Franken’s steadily increasing lead (or tie) could be significant. A recent poll conducted by the Minneapolis StarTribune put Franken’s lead at nine percent, Rasmussen gives Franken a six percent lead, and MPR reported a four percent lead for Franken on October 8. (October 29 Update: Rasmussen’s most recent telephone survey puts Coleman ahead of Franken by 4% while a new University of Wisconsin poll gives Franken a 6-point lead.)
As of September 30, cash coffers stand at just under $4 million for Coleman, $2.8 million for Franken and $5,000 for Barkely. What is, perhaps, more telling is the fact that Franken raised twice as much money as Coleman from August 21 to September 30. Furthermore, cash balances don’t reflect fundraising efforts for October and there are almost three weeks left in the campaign. For information on television ad spending, Tom Scheck and Betsy Cole at mpr provide the breakdown here.
All three candidates will debate tonight at UMD’s Romano Hall at 7:00 p.m. This is their third of five scheduled debates and although it won’t be televised, can be heard on mpr. Prior to the debate, Coleman held a rally with Todd Palin during which he accepted an endorsement from the NRA. But with tonight’s debate likely to be attended by more college students than sportsmen, Franken’s plan to help Minnesotans go to college is sure to be of greater interest. It might behoove Coleman to explain why he “cast the deciding vote for a Bush budget with the single-largest student aid cut in history.”