The U.S. Senate is home to Minnesota’s most popular major politician, as well as its least known.
Once again, Sen. Amy Klobuchar had the best name recognition of any politician included in the latest Star Tribune Minnesota poll, and 59 percent of registered voters viewed her favorably. Another 17 percent viewed Klobuchar unfavorably, while 21 percent were neutral.
But a third of Minnesota voters couldn’t pick the state’s newest U.S. senator out of a lineup. To be fair, Sen. Tina Smith had only been in office about a week when this poll was taken. But 35 percent of her new constituents said her name didn’t ring a bell, and 41 percent who’d heard of her hadn’t formed an impression.
Smith had been Minnesota’s lieutenant governor for the past three years when Gov. Mark Dayton tapped her to replace Al Franken, who resigned this month amid allegations that he had groped and harassed multiple women.
Smith’s disapproval numbers were the lowest in the state — only 7 percent had an unfavorable impression of her. But her approval numbers were also low — 17 percent said they recognized her name and had a favorable impression.
Klobuchar, who carried 65 percent of the state the last time she was up for re-election, is running for a third term this year. And Smith will run in a special election in November to fill the last two years of Franken’s term.
Jennifer Brooks and Maya Rao