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Poll Shows Coleman Faring Well Against Franken

Despite sporting a job approval rating below 50 percent, Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) holds a 51 to 44 percent lead over Democratic challenger Al Franken in the Minnesota Senate race, according to a new Minneapolis Star-Tribune poll.

Usually a sub-50 percent approval rating would spell serious trouble for an incumbent - and still may cause problems for Coleman - but Franken has spent the last few weeks dealing with his own fallout from revelations that he had filed his personal income taxes in 17 states incorrectly and owed $70,000 in back taxes.

The reports hurt the image of the Minnesota native, who returned to his home state after spending a couple of decades in New York writing for Saturday Night Live and hosting an Air America radio show. The poll showed 42 percent of respondents said they were not satisfied with his response to the situation, and more than quarter of independents and one-fifth of Democrats said it made them less likely to vote for him.

Only 33 percent said they viewed Franken favorably, compared to 39 percent who see him in a negative light. Compared to Coleman's 53-33 favorable/unfavorable breakdown, this is not a good sign for an challenger.

The poll was conducted by phone from May 12 to 15, surveying 1,203 voters, 1,117 of whom were registered voters. The margin of error was 3.6 percentage points.

-- Avi Zenilman