DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken have double digit leads against Republican rivals but a significant number of Minnesotans remain undecided in both of this year's premier races, according to a new Suffolk University poll.
According to the poll, conducted among 800 likely voters between April 24 and Monday, Franken has between 15 and 16 percentage point leads in head-to-head match ups with the Republicans. It found Dayton with between 12 and 17 percentage point leads against the Republicans who hope to oust him.
But the Republicans have significant room to grow. In both races, the number of people who say they are undecided outweigh the gap between the Democratic incumbents and their Republican opponents.
In the governor's race, about a fifth of likely voters say they are undecided and in the Senate race, the undecided population was more than a quarter of the polling sample.
It also found that the Republican hopefuls are both races are little known. More than half of Minnesotans said they had never heard of eight of the 10 Republican candidates for governor or Senate, who have largely been campaigning among potential GOP delegates or primary voters.
Two hopefuls were better known than the others-- former Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Zellers and 2010 gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert. Still, between 45 and 44 percent of Minnesotans said they'd never heard of Zellers or Seifert.
The poll, which Boston-based Suffolk University Political Research Center director David Paleologos said was not co-sponsored, had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percent for the statewide numbers.
It included 39 percent of self identified Democrats, 30 percent of self-identified Republicans and 31 percent of people who identified with the Independence Party, as an independent or who did not identified with any party.
Like the Suffolk poll, other polls this year have found Dayton with double digit leads. The polling on Franken's re-election are more mixed. Some polls have found him with slim or high single digit leads.
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