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Home / On the Campaign Trail / SCSU Poll: Dayton over Emmer, Horner gains
Dayton garnered the support of 40 percent of likely voters in the poll, while Emmer reached 30 percent. Horner saw 19 percent among likely voters.

SCSU Poll: Dayton over Emmer, Horner gains

DFLer Mark Dayton continues to lead his Republican opponent Tom Emmer, and Independence Party candidate Tom Horner had his strongest showing in more than a month, according a new poll of the Minnesota gubernatorial race released today by St. Cloud State University.

Dayton garnered the support of 37 percent of all respondents and 40 percent of likely voters in the poll, while Emmer’s reached 27 percent of all respondents and 30 percent of likely voters. Horner, for his part, saw 18 percent of all respondents backing him, and 19 percent among likely voters. Among all respondents, 15 percent are unsure who they’re supporting, as are 5 percent of likely voters.

According to the poll, Dayton leads Emmer in most every demographic category: gender, region and income among them. Dayton trails Emmer in only one: likely voters in the 45-54 age group. The poll also found Dayton has the support of 80 percent of Democrats, while Emmer has the support of 70 percent. Nearly a quarter of self-identified Republicans are backing Horner.

Surveyors also asked each candidate’s supporters to explain why they were backing their candidate. For Dayton, those were his education proposal, ideology and position on taxes. For Emmer, it’s his budget plan, party and a tie for ideology and his tax proposal. In Horner’s case: dislike for the opposition, tax policy and a tie on his budget plan and ideology.

The SCSU poll is widely credited with being among the few outlets that in any way predicted Jesse Ventura’s late surge in 1998. Last week the former governor’s campaign manager from that cycle, Dean Barkley, said he was looking forward to the poll’s release, adding that he considers it best able to accurately measure third-parties. Indeed, Horner had been falling precipitously in most all recent polls after strong showings in September led many to believe the campaign had become a genuine three-way race.


  1. I’ll go out on limb and predict that the final election tally will show:

    Dayton 46%
    Emmer 34%
    Horner 20%

    I don’t see much enthusiasm for Tom Emmer from the GOP of the public. He is too extreme, openly embraces the polarizing elements of the Tea Party. It seems likely that Horner will likely draw voters away from Tom Emmer. Possibly an additional 4-5%. Horner is truly an x-factor, and with so many independents still undecided, he could pull off an upset. Let’s face it, polls are polls.

    Either way, this is the most exciting election cycle in my short life. Bottom line, “It’s the economy, STUPID!” truly applies in 2010 America.

  2. FWIW: Many Democrats in my neighborhood (longtime) are not enthused for Dayton. They’re voting for Horner.

  3. I agree with Chanel. Longtime Dems in my neighborhood believe that Dayton is too extreme and they’re voting for Horner. It will be an interesting race to say the least!

  4. Minnesota has received an embarrassing reputation for recent election follies, and now we appear on the brink of another one. Lets face it, this is a two man race. One has a track record of instability and espouses shopworn, generally discredited, economic solutions involving higher taxes. The other is labeled “extreme” for wanting to reform state government, and encouraging private sector investment. How is that a tough choice?

    Let’s please not embarrass ourselves again.

  5. I agree with the comment by Boone. I also disagree that Dayton is ahead in the race. History has proven that most polls in Minnesota are wrong and the loser in the polls wins the election..

  6. I am a lifelong Democrat. It’s no surprise that we find ourselves with another gubernatorial race in which the DFL candidate is not the strongest person that the party could nominate. This is why we haven’t been in St. Paul since Perpich. I will have to hold my nose and vote for Dayton only because Emmer is far too extreme and Horner just doesn’t seem like he can govern. I hope if Dayton wins that he drops the tax the rich mantra and starts to work on solutions that both parties and the people of Minnesota can support. Fix the budget, cut the smoke and mirrors of the Pawlenty era (i.e funding shifts and “no new taxes” with “lots of new fees.”) I always thought that the purpose of taxes is to pool the resources of our state and use them to raise the lives of all Minnesotans. We have seen too many years of class warfare that benefit only those who can afford to pay. Election day can’t come soon enough!

  7. According to that poll theory the loser in the poll wins, that is great news for Tom Horner. Tom Horner is in range score a possible independent upset in the general election. I am voting for Horner.

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