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Franken plans event for supporters as poll suggests voters want him to stay

In this file photo, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., met with stakeholders in Detroit Lakes, Minn., Thursday, Aug. 22 to discuss ways to increase investments in workforce development to help employers find enough trained workers to fill open high-skills, high-demand jobs. File photo / Forum News Service

MINNEAPOLIS — Hours before Sen. Al Franken makes an appearance to publicly thank “supporters and friends,” one new poll states the majority of Minnesota voters don’t think he should resign his seat.

The Minnesota Democrat is set to officially resign next Tuesday, Jan. 2, a move that he reluctantly announced after his colleagues -- most notably a wave of Democratic women -- called for when numerous women alleged sexually inappropriate behavior.

A news release Wednesday evening said Franken would make remarks to the press tonight during an event for supporters, but details — including location and time — were only available for media who submit an RSVP.

On Thursday morning, a survey from Public Policy Polling — a Democrat-leaning firm — found Franken remains popular in the state, particularly with women.

A Public Policy Polling news release said key findings from the survey include:

  • 50 percent of voters think he should not resign, while 42 percent who think he should go through with his planned resignation.
  • Among Democratic voters, 71 percent oppose his departure. Among independents, 52 percent don’t believe he should resign and 41 percent are in favor.
  • Franken remains well above average in popularity for a Senator, with 53 percent of voters surveyed approve of his performance, compared to 42 percent who disapprove.
  • Among women surveyed, 57 percent approve of his performance.

In the release, Public Policy Polling said it rarely finds senators holding a majority approval rating in their home state.

Further, the survey — which interviewed 671 Minnesotans on Dec. 26 and 27, said 60 percent of Minnesotans polled believe the Senate Ethics Committee should have completed its investigation.

Franken’s successor in the Senate will be Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, who was appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton to fill the vacancy. She will be sworn in Jan. 3 and announced she will campaign to retain the seat when it appears on the 2018 general election ballot.

Forum News Service

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