Coleman/Franken weekend roundup

Coleman/Franken weekend roundup

This was a big weekend for Sen. Norm Coleman and Al Franken in their bid for Minnesota's Senate seat. This is getting intense!

The big news: Franken is leading Coleman 43 to 34 percent, according to a new Minnesota poll released by the Star Tribune on Saturday. Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley is supported by 18 percent of respondents. This is Franken's first commanding lead in a poll.

According to the Star Tribune:

The survey, conducted Tuesday through Thursday by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among 1,084 likely Minnesota voters, shows Franken leading Coleman 43 to 34 percent. Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley is supported by 18 percent of respondents.

Franken’s lead is outside the poll’s margin of sampling error, plus or minus 3.7 points.

Coleman led Franken by four points in last month’s Minnesota Poll.

This is a stark difference from the SurveyUSA poll we reported on last week. The survey, commissioned by KSTP-TV the same week, showed Coleman with a 10-point lead over Franken, 43 to 33 percent.

We aren't the only ones surprised. MinnPost's Eric Black and David Brauer analyzed the two polls, favoring the Star Tribune:

The SUSA poll was taken Tuesday-Wednesday; the Strib's Tuesday-Thursday. SUSA sampled 725 likely voters, compared with the Strib's 1,084 likely voters. Both polls have a margin of sampling error of plus/minus 3.7 percentage points.

If you want to know which poll to believe more, the Strib's has the larger sample size and the advantage of the older, more established human interview methodology. SUSA uses robotic voice interviews.

One more suspicious indicator about the SUSA/KSTP poll is that the same poll of the same sample found John McCain with a slight lead over Barack Obama in Minnesota, which is contrary to the findings of most recent Minnesota prez polls.

In other debate news, the candidates faced off Sunday in a Rochester debate. The debate wasn't televised, but you can watch it here.

The Star Tribune has a recap of the debate.

Here are the highlights:

Throughout the evening, Coleman defended his six-year career in the Senate while characterizing Franken as an intemperate talker rather than a doer.

Franken linked Coleman's votes to campaign donations Coleman has taken from oil, drug and insurance interests over the years, reinforcing a line he has developed in his ads, that Coleman is a tool of corporate interests.

Barkley came out with possibly the toughest prescription of the night on remedies for the nation's ailing economy. The first bill he would propose, he said, "would be a four-year spending cap."

The negative ads in the race are receiving a lot of attention and we are sure more will be debuted as the campaign continues to heat up. We will keep you updated this week with all of the mud slinging and name calling. At least now we know they are say it to the other person's face. Sort of.

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