Governor candidates approach Election Day in a dead heat

Andrew Pritchard

After months of presidential visits, threats of legal action and volley after volley of ads, an intense and raucous gubernatorial race featuring four major-party candidates is almost over.

Few will venture to point out a frontrunner as polls show – as they have for months – the three leading candidates in a statistical dead heat.

A survey released Thursday by St. Cloud State University found 30 percent of voters supported Republican Tim Pawlenty, 27 percent backed Democrat Roger Moe and 26 percent favored Independence Party candidate Tim Penny. Green Party candidate Ken Pentel drew 2 percent support.

A Star Tribune Minnesota Poll released Tuesday found 33 percent support for Pawlenty, 29 percent for Moe and 19 percent for Penny.

But, both polls’ proximity to Sen. Paul Wellstone’s death and the subsequent memorial service could make their results less indicative of public mood than surveys taken when no such events dominated the news.

The SCSU poll surveyed 613 Minnesotans. The Minnesota Poll questioned 639 people, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

The Star Tribune’s poll also found 14 percent of Minnesotans undecided in the guberntorial race – enough to give the win to any of the three leading candidates.

The games begin

at the start of the summer, all eyes were on the candidate who wouldn’t run.

Gov. Jesse Ventura announced in June he would not seek re-election, opening the way for his Independence Party candidate, Penny, to make the gubernatorial race a three-way contest that has for months been too close to predict.