Jay Reding.com

…And Now For The Bad News

While Al Franken may have made a splash with his announcement of candidacy the polling data doesn’t look good for him:

U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman would win easily if he ends up facing comedian Al Franken in Minnesota’s U.S. Senate race in 2008, according to an exclusive 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS/SURVEY USA poll.

The popular comedian announced that he would seek the seat Wednesday on the last episode of his radio show.

The poll shows Coleman getting 57 percent of the vote and Franken getting 35 percent.

The poll also looked at a possible matchup between Coleman and attorney Mike Ciresi, who is also expected to seek the DFL nomination. Coleman also wins that match by a margin of 57 to 34.

The margin of error on the poll is +/- 3.9 percent; 632 registered voters were polled on Feb. 12 and Feb. 13.

For one, since when has Al Franken been either a comedian (at least intentionally) or popular?

Franken’s numbers will improve — the DFL could put a dead marmot up for election and most of the Twin Cities would vote for it, but not by all that much. The reality remains that Al Franken just isn’t the sort of person who makes a good politician — and all it takes is one instance of blowing one’s lid to demonstrate it in front of the entire electorate. (And if you don’t buy that, ask Mike Hatch…)

Coleman’s a talented politician, and he’s been careful not to associate himself too closely with the Bush Administration — he opposed drilling in ANWR, he supported the Warner/Levin Amendment on Iraq, and he’s hardly a staunch conservative. However, he is conservative enough that Republicans will still support him (as 94% in this poll do), but not so conservative as to alienate moderates.

Coleman also has the benefit of the free publicity of the Republican National Convention in 2008, which is a powerful incentive as well.

Franken may be more of a serious candidate that I’d first thought, but he’s got a long way to go before he even gets the DFL nomination — and Mike Ciresi has the money to pull off a serious challenge. I’m not convinced that the DFL will see Franken as being in their best interest, and Franken may not even get the chance to run against Coleman — at least as an endorsed DFL candidate.