CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Minnesota freshman U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman has less than 50% support, and that means the Republican has a serious challenge on his hands from Al Franken, the comedian-turned-Air America talkshow host who is after Coleman's job.
Coleman holds a 10-point lead over Franken, which is slender for an incumbent seeking reelection. Franken could face opposition in Minnesota's 2008 Democratic primary, but the poll shows he's already competitive against the Republican.
"Generally speaking, incumbents who poll below 50% are potentially vulnerable."
That news today from Rasmussen Reports, a polling organization that said Coleman was up 46% to 36% in its first survey of 500 likely Minnesota voters. Rasmussen conducted the telephone survey March 7 and released the results today. It was encouraging news for Franken, who left Air America last month but has wondered aloud if voters are ready for a comedian. He first came to wide public attention on Saturday Night Live in the show's early years.
Although voters under 30 prefer Franken over Coleman, Rasmussen said Franken has a high unfavorable rating, 46%, which exceeds Coleman's by four points. The results are HERE.
Meanwhile, Rasmussen said the Republican presidential race is all Rudy, Rudy, Rudy. Sen. John McCain (16%) is slumping but remains No. 2 to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (37%), who is padding his lead. Newt Gingrich (11%) is third and Mitt Romney (10%) is on his heels.
Rasmussen said Giuliani beats everyone on the Democratic side in head-to-head matchups. And the polling organization delivered a downbeat assessment about McCain.
"This is the lowest level of support so far for someone who not long ago was presumed to be the front runner for the nomination."