ST. PAUL (AP) -- Close to half of Minnesota voters don't mind that U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone broke a campaign promise when he said last month that he would seek a third term in 2002, a poll published Tuesday showed.
Fifty-two percent of likely voters polled approved of Wellstone's decision to run again, even though he had previously pledged to serve only two terms, according to a statewide poll conducted for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press and Minnesota Public Radio. Forty-two percent disapproved.
The poll indicated Wellstone's change of heart apparently hasn't significantly hurt his re-election chances. If the election were held now, 46 percent said they would vote for him, while 23 percent would consider voting for a GOP challenger and 26 percent definitely would vote to replace him with a Republican.
Wellstone also received his highest job performance rating in the nine years the Pioneer Press has been polling on his work scores. Twenty percent rated his performance as excellent and 34 percent said it was good, while 22 percent ranked his work as fair and 19 percent considered it poor.
The numbers mean Wellstone is a fairly strong candidate heading into next year's campaign, said Brad Coker, managing director of Mason-Dixon Polling and Research.
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