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Published October 03, 2010, 12:04 AM

Minnesota Political Notebook: Recent Minnesota polls good news for Dayton

ST. PAUL – Questions about political poll accuracy are increasing this campaign season, but a couple of recent polls were good news for Minnesota Democratic governor candidate Mark Dayton.

By: Don Davis, Forum News Service, INFORUM

ST. PAUL – Questions about political poll accuracy are increasing this campaign season, but a couple of recent polls were good news for Minnesota Democratic governor candidate Mark Dayton.

Still, Dayton said, “we always thought it would be close.”

The University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute-Minnesota Public Radio poll released at midweek showed Dayton leading Republican Tom Emmer 38 percent to 27 percent, with Tom Horner of the Independence Party trailing with 16 percent. The rest have yet to decide.

A month ago, the same poll showed Emmer and Dayton tied.

The Minnesota Poll by the Minneapolis Star Tribune showed a 39-30 Dayton lead. But other polls show the race a tie.

Part of the problem is that a number of issues are making poll results more questionable. For one, some polls try to contact those who use mobile telephones as their only phone, other polls ignore them, and some try to guess how they would vote. Also, pollsters say more people refuse to answer questions or at least may not tell their true feelings.

And some polls are conducted by computer, with no human interaction, which could lead to inaccurate results.

Polls appear to be saying that Horner draws more people from Emmer than from Dayton, logical since Horner used to be a Republican.

Some data are in conflict.

The Star Tribune poll shows Emmer and Dayton tied outside of the Twin Cities. In the university poll, swing voters such as those who populate much of rural Minnesota appear to heavily lean toward Dayton. While none of the three is considered a strong leader, the poll shows voters think Dayton cares about them and has the right temperament to be governor.

Video promotes book

Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s new video promoting a book due out on Jan. 11 sounds a lot like a presidential commercial or something that would be shown on the huge television screens at a Republican convention.

To presidential-sounding background music, the screen gradually shows: “Sometimes it just takes one man to have the courage to stand.”

When Pawlenty appears, with a bookcase in the background, the Republican says, “The book in part is about lessons learned along the way.”

“My story really is a story about the American dream,” he added.

Biden at college

Vice President Joe Biden comes to St. Paul on Tuesday to rally and raise funds for Democratic-Farmer-Labor governor candidate Mark Dayton.

Biden will speak during a 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. rally at Macalester College in St. Paul. Afterward, the vice president will attend a Dayton fundraiser.

President Barack Obama is expected in Minnesota later in October.

‘Avoid wait’

Minnesotans who register to vote by Oct. 12 can avoid longer lines on Election Day.

State law requires Minnesota voters to register, and they may do that on Election Day, which is Nov. 2. However, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said, they may avoid delays at their polling places by preregistering by Oct. 12.

Minnesotans may submit registration applications at county auditor offices or Ritchie’s office next to the Capitol. Applications are available at those locations or at www.mnvotes.org.

Franken flubs

The Hill newspaper reports that U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., “still

is getting the hang of presiding over the Senate.”

Reporter Alexander Bolton writes that “the most famous member of the Senate freshmen class” called Sen. Tom Udall the “senator from Utah.” Udall corrected Franken, saying he is from New Mexico.

“Oh, God,” Franken boomed into the Senate microphone. “I’m sorry.”

Freshman senators such as Franken frequently are given the job of presiding over the Senate.

Last month, Republicans criticized Franken, who again was presiding, for making inappropriate gestures and facial expressions when GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky spoke.

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.