Al Franken takes commanding early lead

Franken scored above 50 percent against every potential challenger.
Franken scored above 50 percent against every potential challenger.

The election is still 18 months away, but Al Franken already holds a commanding lead over all potential challengers, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey.

If the election were to take place tomorrow, Franken would jaunt to an easy victory, according to these poll results. Partly because he's exceptionally popular (51 percent approval rate vs. 42 percent disapproval). Partly because everyone in a position to run against him so far is exceptionally unpopular. Franken also has a pretty powerful war chest built up so far, which doesn't hurt either.

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Here's a breakdown of how Franken would fare against potential challengers:

Franken vs. Michele Bachmann Al Franken: 55% Michele Bachmann: 38% Not sure: 7%

Franken vs. Jason Lewis Al FrankenL 54% Jason Lewis: 37% Not sure: 9%

Franken vs. Mike McFadden Al Franken: 51% Mike McFadden: 36% Not sure: 13%

Franken vs. Julianne Ortman Al Franken: 52% Julianne Ortman: 35% Not sure: 14%

Franken vs. Julie Rosen Al Franken: 52% Julie Rosen: 36% Not sure: 12%

Franken vs. Rich Stanek Al Franken: 51% Rich Stanek: 36% Not sure: 13%

There's still plenty of time for a new challenger to shake up the race, but it looks like it's Franken's to lose with this crop. He's at least in a considerably better position than in 2008, when he scraped by Norm Coleman by a razor-thin margin after an eight-month recount.

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