According to a newly released SurveyUSA poll, perhaps not very. Coleman leads both Democrats currently in the race by over twenty points, and is running close to 60% himself. While then-Rep. Mark Kennedy got blown away last year, Gov. Pawlenty survived a tough challenge to be one of the few vulnerable Republicans remaining standing last year. What`s more, one can`t help but think that the worst must be over, as Democrats will now have to share responsibility for governing and take at least some of the blame for anything that goes wrong over the next two years.
Perhaps most significant is that neither of Coleman`s potential challengers suffer from serious name recognition issues. Al Franken has been famous since his SNL days over twenty years ago and has the mammouth task of convincing voters to take him seriously after such a long career in comedy. It is unlikely he`ll manage to do that. Cirisi, meanwhile, has run for office before and has since been mentioned as a possible candidate. His numbers may kick up as he reacquaints himself with voters, but a 20 point gap, along with Coleman running well over 50% make it very difficult to see how he could make up the gap.
With these new numbers, look for DSCC Chair Chuck Schumer to start recruiting another candidate in earnest. Rep. Betty McCollum would likely be the strongest challenger, but she has shown little interest. Democrats will have a very difficult time expanding their majority if the Minnesota race falls by the wayside, as these numbers indicate it may.