KSTP/SurveyUSA: Approval Ratings Might Challenge Democrats

Updated: 04/14/2014 2:07 PM KSTP.com By: Leslie Dyste

Two of Minnesota's leading Democrats running for re-election in 2014 could find their relatively low approval ratings to be a challenge.

Governor Mark Dayton and Senator Al Franken also might not be able to count on much help from President Obama because his approval rating is much lower.

According to our KSTP/SurveyUSA poll, Obama's approval rating is just 36 percent in Minnesota, with 54 percent disapproving and 10 percent not sure. That's down from a 55 percent approval rating in Sept. 2009.

By comparison, Dayton and Franken have higher approval ratings, but both are below the key 50 percent threshold often seen as key to a strong re-election bid.

Dayton's approval rating among Minnesotans is 49 percent, with 40 percent disapproving and 12 percent not sure. He has the support of 76 percent of Democrats, 44 percent if independents and 27 percent of Republicans.

Franken's approval rating near the end of his first term in the U.S. Senate is 46 percent. Another 42 percent disapprove and 13 percent are not sure. Franken has approval of 72 percent of Democrats and 22 percent of Republicans. His most worrisome numbers might be his 46 percent disapproval among independents versus 41 percent who approve.

Larry Jacobs of the U of M's Humphrey Institute says neither Franken or Dayton can count on help from President Obama. "The approval rating that Barack Obama now has in Minnesota are possibly fatal for a number of Democrats running for re-election," he said.

Jacobs says Dayton and Franken might be helped by the fact Republicans haven't rallied around candidates to face them. The GOP candidates might also face bruising endorsement battles.

This KSTP/SurveyUSA poll included 35 percent of registered voters who identified themselves as independents, 33 percent as Democrats and 26 percent as Republicans. The survey of 600 Minnesotans statewide was conducted April 4 through April 7.