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Some of the ads by the Coleman campaign and national Republicans show Franken when he was an entertainer, cursing and ranting on political subjects. Others stress the tax and accounting mistakes of his private corporation when he was living in New York.
Said Franken supporter Lori Miller, a 46-year-old small-business owner from Staples: “I feel we need something new, and I feel like [Franken’s] out for the middle class. I don’t know if I really believe all the bad things they’re saying about him.”
The Rev. Philip Geoffrion, a pastor in Cokato, is a Republican who’s tempted to vote for Barkley except for the fact that, as he said, “when he doesn’t have a chance to win, I figure I’ll waste my vote.” For now, he’s sticking with Coleman.
Barkley hurting Coleman
The poll shows that Barkley is drawing more votes from Coleman than Franken, although Franken would still be ahead of Coleman even if Barkley wasn’t in the race.
More Barkley supporters, 49 percent, said they leaned toward Coleman than Franken, who drew support from 33 percent of them. In a head-to-head match without Barkley, Franken topped Coleman by 49 percent to 42 percent.
The poll detected a significant increase in Minnesotans who label themselves as Democrats. Forty-two percent of likely voters identified themselves as Democrats, compared with 27 percent who said they were independents, and 26 percent who said they were Republicans.
According to the poll, Coleman’s support has slid among men and those in upper- and lower-income brackets. Last month, Coleman led Franken among men, 46 to 36 percent; in the recent poll Franken is ahead, 45 to 34 percent.
Coleman continues to get strong support from white evangelicals, but white Catholics are about evenly split between the two leading candidates. Both Coleman and Franken are struggling equally to keep their respective bases from drifting to the Barkley camp; each has the support of 78 percent of their party members, while 12 percent of Democrats and Republicans alike support Barkley.
And Barkley has cut into Coleman’s former lead among independents, leaving them divided almost evenly among Coleman (34 percent), Barkley (33 percent) and Franken (29 percent).
“This has really alienated me from both [Coleman and Franken]. I’ve read some of Franken’s satire — I’m not a big fan of the stuff — and I’ve watched Coleman in Congress a bit,” he said. “But these ads have turned me totally away. Barkley seems like more my kind of person.”
Kevin Duchschere • 612-673-4455