By Eric Kleefeld
TPM Election Central
A funny thing seems to be happening in Minnesota: Al Franken, who trailed in the polls for a long time and whose candidacy was written off by many observers, now seems to be surging ahead of incumbent GOP Sen. Norm Coleman.
Don't look now, but he just might win.
The last three polls of the race have put Franken ahead. Rasmussen had it yesterday at Franken 43%, Coleman 37%, and Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley 17%. The University of Minnesota has it at Franken 41%, Coleman 37%, and Barkley 14%. And the Star Tribune puts it at Franken 43%, Coleman 34%, and Barkley 18%.
And as of yesterday afternoon, Pollster.com has given Franken a narrow lead of 40.0%-39.2% in its trend-line.
So how on earth did a foul-mouthed comedian talk his way to the point where he may knock off an established GOP incumbent?
Franken's surge, like so many other good numbers for the Democrats over the last few weeks, can really be traced to one thing: The economy. The state university's poll puts it in perspective perfectly: In a sampling taken right before the vote on the bailout, Coleman was up 40%-31%. In a new sample taken after the bailout, the two switched places, giving Franken a lead of 41%-37%....(Click here for remainder).