Thursday, February 14, 2008

Is Franken really the "Front Runner" for the DFL US Senate endorsement?

This fall it's Al Franken vs. Norm Coleman -- Mike Ciresi and Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer just doesn't have the support to win the DFL US Senate endorsement. That appears to be the proclamation from the legacy media based upon Survey USA's KSTP sponsored poll and the TV station's online post about the poll. According to KSTP Franken is the "front runner" But if you take some time to dig into the numbers, and know a little bit about the political process, you know that outcome is far from certain.

First, the poll was done among Republicans, Independents and Democrats. Republicans and Independent voters don't determine the DFL endorsement, Democrats do. And when you look at just the Democratic voters numbers, Al Franken pulls 79%, and Mike Ciresi 75%. That's closer than the margin of error in the poll (when you narrow the sample to just Democrats).

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer polls just 58% among Democrats, but there are nearly twice as many undecideds (18%) as there are in matchups between Franken/Ciresi and Colman. That's not surprising since Nelson-Pallmeyer's campaign is not very well known in the general public. Adding in just half of those undecideds puts Nelson-Pallmeyer just a few percentage points behind Franken and Ciresi.

Second, it is now delegates, not voters, who are going to determine who the DFL US Senate nominee is going to be. All three candidates have agreed to abide by the endorsement, which means there's only going to be one major candidate running in the DFL primary this September. This poll was done among the general public not delegates.

The three DFL candidates are better known to the delegates than the general public. And as noted above, even among the general population of Democrats, the race is too close to call or even a three-way race.

So for KSTP to use this poll to call Franken the "front runner" is not based on fact, not based on their own poll, and takes a real stretch of the imagination... or just a lack of attention to detail to do. KSTP should stick to the facts on this one -- that is Franken does better in this poll in a head-to-head matchup with Coleman than Ciresi or Nelson-Pallmeyer do -- and leave deciding who the DFL "front runner" is to the delegates.

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