MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A poll showed Walter Mondale, who will likely replace Paul Wellstone as the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, held a solid lead over Republican challenger Norm Coleman.
The poll also showed Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Pawlenty gaining more support among Minnesota voters, with Democrat Roger Moe holding steady and Independence Party candidate Tim Penny falling back.
The death of Sen. Paul Wellstone apparently had little effect on Minnesotans' leanings in the U.S. Senate race, the Minnesota Poll for the Star Tribune of Minneapolis showed.
Mondale leads Coleman 47 percent to 39 percent, the poll showed. That's close to where the race stood two weeks ago when Wellstone led Coleman 47 to 41 percent.
The 8-percentage-point gap between Mondale and Coleman is larger than the 3.9 percent margin of sampling error. The poll interviewed 639 adults on Monday, with those who said they were likely to vote assigned more weight in the sample.
Minnesota Polls usually are conducted over several nights. This poll was based on 639 interviews conducted on a single night and therefore represents a brief snapshot of public opinion at a time when the state's political world is reeling.
The DFL party is expected to nominate Mondale to succeed Wellstone on the ballot.
In the governor's race, most of the movement is erosion in support for Penny. The poll showed him with support from 19 percent of respondents, down from 27 percent two weeks ago.
Pawlenty had support from 33 percent, up from 29 percent two weeks ago, and Moe at 29 percent, where he was in the previous poll.
The poll findings indicate that Mondale may be the strongest candidate the DFL could nominate under the extraordinary circumstances.
Ninety-eight percent of Minnesotans recognize his name, 66 percent say they have a favorable image of him, compared with 15 percent unfavorable. Even among Republicans, more respondents, 39 percent, view him favorably than unfavorably, 37 percent.
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