KSTP/SurveyUSA: Klobuchar vs. Pawlenty in 2018?

January 12, 2017 03:24 PM

The 2018 Minnesota governor's race is still two years away, but right now two names rise to the top in hypothetical races for the GOP and DFL nominations: Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar.

According to our KSTP/SurveyUSA poll involving hypothetical candidates for governor on the Republican side, Pawlenty is at 19 percent, far ahead of the next closest possible candidate, Congressman Erik Paulsen at eight percent. Congressman Tom Emmer, who ran for governor in 2010 and narrowly lost to Mark Dayton, is at four percent. The rest of the field includes House Speaker Kurt Daudt at two percent, with former U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden also at two percent and Republican Party Chair Keith Downey and Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek each at one percent. A whopping 64 percent either aren't sure or prefer someone else.

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"There are second-tier Republican candidates, but who is the one successful, statewide office holder on that's Tim Pawlenty," says Carleton College Political Science Professor Steven Schier.

On the DFL side, Sen. Amy Klobuchar dominates a hypothetical field of nine candidates. Klobuchar is at 25 percent with her nearest competitor being R.T. Rybak at six percent. He insists he will not run for governor. Congressman Tim Walz is next at five percent, with St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson each at three percent. Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and State Auditor Rebecca Otto are each at one percent. The only candidate to officially announce she's running, Rep. Erin Murphy of St. Paul, did not register in our poll.

"Nobody's close to Amy Klobuchar," Schier said. "None of the candidates who are likely to be active candidates in 2018 are registering more than one or two percent in the polls."

The poll was conducted between Nov. 17 and Nov. 19th and includes 581 registered voters across the state. The margin of error is +/- 4.2 percent.


Tom Hauser

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