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Associated Press, Published October 25 2010

Poll: Dayton maintains lead over Emmer

MINNEAPOLIS – Democrat Mark Dayton still holds an edge in his race for governor against Republican Tom Emmer as the final full week of campaigning starts, according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune Minnesota Poll published Sunday.

The poll of 999 likely voters showed Dayton ahead of Emmer 41 percent to 34 percent. Thirteen percent said they’ll support the Independence Party’s Tom Horner, about the same amount who were undecided or refused to answer.

Both Dayton and Emmer gained from their standings – 39 percent and 30 percent, respectively – in last month’s Star Tribune poll. Dayton, a former U.S. senator, has never trailed in the poll as he seeks to claim the seat being vacated by Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, but Emmer’s numbers are his highest yet in the newspaper’s poll.

The poll taken Oct. 18-21 was done through live interviews on both land lines and cell phones. It carries a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

“I think people have known me for 35 years, and I am grateful that they are putting more stock in what they know about me than in what other people are now saying about me,” Dayton told the Star Tribune on Saturday. Dayton has been in the public eye since his first run for the U.S. Senate in 1982.

The newspaper reports its poll suggests Democrats could be closing in on their best chance to win the governor’s office in more than two decades, while Republicans may have a lot of convincing to do if they want to continue the GOP streak Pawlenty started eight years ago.

Emmer spokesman Carl Kuhl disputed the poll’s findings and said other polls have shown a closer race, although all show Dayton in the lead.

“We are very confident in our ability to close this election strong and win this election,” Kuhl told the Star Tribune.

Horner spokesman Matt Lewis acknowledged disappointment but did not dispute the numbers.

“It’s a challenge. It’s not going to be easy,” Lewis told the newspaper. “We need people to vote for who they think is going to make the best (governor) and not for who they think the polls are telling them who can or can’t win.”

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