Dayton leads in new poll

Former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton continues to be the strongest DFL candidate in a SurveyUSA poll released by KSTP-TV in the Twin Cities, but Republican Tom Emmer is in a near deadlock with any of the three Democrats.

The poll shows that Dayton leads Matt Entenza and Margaret Anderson Kelliher in the Democratic-Farmer-Laborite primary race. SurveyUSA says Dayton has 39 percent of the votes, Kelliher 26 percent and Entenza 22 percent, with 14 percent for others or not decided.

Entenza can declare a victory of sorts because the poll puts him in closer contention than in the past.

Dayton leads in all geographic areas, but does best in the west, where 56 percent of poll respondents say they would vote for him, the poll says, He could easily carry senior citizen voters with nearly half their votes.

However, eight weeks before the Aug. 10 primary, political observers question the validity of any pre-primary poll, especially since it is being held a month earlier than normal this year. The change makes it very tough to predict who actually will vote.

Looking ahead to the Nov. 2 general election, Emmer and any of the three major Democrats are within the poll’s margin of error.

The poll gives Dayton a 38 percent to 35 percent edge over Emmer, with Emmer leading Kelliher 35 to 33 and leaving Entenza 37 to 33.

However, the poll conducted this week showed Emmer down 5 to 7 percentage points from one conducted six weeks ago.

Independence Party candidate Tom Horner, a former Republican, maintains 12 percent support.

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