Half way through his term, Gov. Mark Dayton holds solid public approval numbers and new polling suggests he would beat ex-Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman in a race for governor next year.
Fifty-three percent of voters back Dayton’s job performance, while 39 percent disapprove, according to survey results released today from the firm Public Policy Polling.
Within those numbers, though, party divisions run deep. Only 14 percent of Republicans approve of the job Dayton is doing.
PPP surveyed 1,065 Minnesota voters and 275 usual Republican primary voters January 18th to 20th — before Dayton unveiled his dramatic plans to overhaul the state’s tax system.
Among Republicans polled, Coleman is the clear favorite to challenge Dayton, with 57 percent saying they’d like him to be their candidate next year. PPP said no one else it offered as a potential challenger got more than 5 percent.
Dayton won a narrow victory in 2010, capturing less than 44 percent of the vote.
The poll, though, found Coleman is not that popular with the general electorate, with 35 percent viewing him favorably and 43 percent offering a negative opinion.
In a head-to-head choice with Coleman, the survey found Dayton a clear winner.
Based on its polling, PPP says, “Dayton’s run as governor so far has been a lot more successful than his tenure in the Senate — he looks like a strong favorite for reelection next year, at least 22 months out.”
Click here to read the full results of the survey.
The firm also did recent polling on Sen. Al Franken.
Caveats: PPP is a Democratic-friendly firm that uses automated phone surveys, which are generally considered less accurate than live interviews. However the company’s polls had a track record of accuracy in last year’s elections.
MPR News reporter Tom Scheck contributed to this report