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Senate poll brings DFL good news

If Election Day was today and Minnesotans went to the polls to pick their new U.S. Senator, it's pretty clear who would win -- regardless of whether one fully believes the results of a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll or not.

If Election Day was today and Minnesotans went to the polls to pick their new U.S. Senator, it's pretty clear who would win -- regardless of whether one fully believes the results of a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll or not.

The poll, published in the Monday edition of the newspaper, showed DFL candidate Amy Klobuchar leading Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy by a margin of 56 percent to 32 percent. The poll, completed during three days last week among 820 likely voters, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

The poll, obviously, represents great news for Klobuchar, who has served as Hennepin County Attorney since 1998. Like nearly all Democrats from across the country seeking trips to Washington, she has based her campaign on the need for change from the policies of George W. Bush and his fellow Republicans -- like Kennedy, for instance, who has been chided repeatedly for his voting record and his high frequency of support for Bush policies.

Just as clearly, the poll's results represent bad news for Kennedy, who used to represent the southwest corner of Minnesota in the House of Representatives before the 2002 redistricting. It's clear the Kennedy camp was unhappy, if Associated Press quotes from Joe Pally -- Kennedy's communications director -- are any indication. Pally, in a news release e-mailed across the state Monday morning, called the poll "another blatant attempt to influence, rather than report on the U.S. Senate race" and also declared it showed a "ridiculous lead" for Klobuchar. Quick question: If the poll had favored Kennedy, would this attempt to influence be considered so blatant?

Regardless of the accuracy of the poll's 24-point lead for Klobuchar, it's clear momentum is on the Democrat's side. And another aspect of the poll should make Republicans nervous: while a solid 77 percent of GOP voters support Kennedy, 92 percent of DFLers support Klobuchar. If she gets that kind of turnout Nov. 7, Mark Kennedy likely won't be the only high-profile Minnesota Republican winding up in the losing column.

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