In the first independent poll done after the DFL and GOP conventions, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer came out ahead of three Democrats vying for the seat.

The poll, done by SurveyUSA for KSTP, found that:

"In a hypothetical match-up against DFL-endorsed candidate Margaret Anderson Kelliher and the favorite to win the Independence Party nomination, Tom Horner, Emmer has a convincing lead.

According to the poll of 588 registered voters who say they're likely to vote, Emmer leads Kelliher 41 to 33 percent. Horner is at 9 percent. Another 17 percent are undecided.

...

In a hypothetical race, Emmer leads Dayton by eight points--42 to 34. Horner is again at 9 percent and 15 percent are undecided.

The poll showed, Emmer leads Entenza 42 percent to 31 percent. In this hypothetical race, Horner pulls in 10 percent and 16 percent are undecided."

Kelliher, Dayton and Entenza will vie in an August primary as will IP's Horner. Emmer has a clearer shot to November.

Interestingly, the poll included marginally more voters who call themselves Republicans -- 36 percent --  than Democrats -- 35 percent. In most years, more Minnesota voters identify themselves as Democrats than Republicans.