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Eye on the Senate: Three Vulnerable GOP Incumbents

Here’s the latest addition to our round-up of polls on this year’s Senate races, with yet three more Republican incumbents – including Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell – falling under 50 percent, a sure sign of vulnerability. Be sure to read our Election 2008 overview of the battle for the Senate. Also, check out our Senate “Races to Watch” chart.

**Kentucky:** Democratic challenger Bruce Lunsford, a Louisville businessman, is leading incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell, he Senate GOP leader, by 49 percent to 44 percent with 4 percent preferring “other” and 4 percent undecided, in a May 22 Rasmussen Reports Survey. McConnell is viewed favorably by 52 percent of voters compared to 42 percent who see him negatively, while Lunsford is viewed positively by 47 percent of voters compared to 42 percent. The margin of error is 4.5 percent. Rasmussen said just 67 percent of John McCain supporters said they would also vote for McConnell, while 28 percent will defect to Lunsford.

**Minnesota:** Incumbent GOP Sen. Norm Coleman is leading Democratic hopeful Al Franken 47 percent to 45 percent with 5 percent preferring “other” and 3 percent undecided, in a Rasmussen Reports poll conducted May 22. The difference is within the 4.5 percent margin of error. The number of voters who view Coleman favorably or unfavorably are equally divided at 49 percent, while Franken is viewed unfavorably by 49 percent and favorably by 47 percent. A month ago, Coleman led 50 percent to 43 percent. A Minneapolis Star Tribune poll conducted May 12-15 had Coleman leading Franken 51 percent to 44 percent with a 3.6 percent margin of error. Coleman is viewed favorably by 53 percent of voters compared to 33 percent, and Franken is viewed UNfavorably by 39 percent versus 33 percent who view him favorably. As far as Franken’s tax woes – he admitted he has had to pay penalties and correct past filings in different states – 43 percent of voters say they are satisfied with his explanations and 42 percent say they are not. Check out CQ Politics’ story on the money race between Coleman and Franken.

**New Hampshire:** Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, the former governor, leads Republican incumbent John Sununu 50 percent to 43 percent with 2 percent preferring “other” and 4 percent undecided, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll conducted May 21. The margin of error is 4.5 percent. Fifty-eight percent regard Shaheen favorably compared to 40 percent who do not, while 49 percent view Sununu positively compared to 47 percent .

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