Losing in the court of public opinion, too

LOSING IN THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION, TOO…. Voters have been remarkably patient in Minnesota as the Franken/Coleman ordeal has dragged on. Their tolerance for a new round of court hearings and delays, however, appears to be wearing thin.

A new survey of Minnesota by Public Policy Polling (D), finds a clear verdict on the part of the state’s voters: They want the disputed Senate race to be over, for Norm Coleman to concede defeat, and Al Franken to be sworn in. The poll was conducted yesterday and today, in the aftermath of the election court’s ruling that Franken won the race.

By a 63%-37% margin, voters say that Coleman should concede the race, rather than continue to appeal. After being reminded by the pollster that Minnesota currently has only one Senator, they say by a 59%-41% margin that Franken should be seated immediately, rather than allow the seat to stay vacant. And by a 59%-41% margin, they say that Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty should sign a certificate of election.

And this question here produces a close result: “Some people say that Republicans are funding the Coleman legal suit to keep the Minnesota seat vacant and slow down the Obama agenda. Do you agree or disagree with that statement?” The numbers are 48% agree, 52% disagree.

Manu Raju noted recently, before the unanimous ruling from the three-judge panel, “When the case will end could depend on how much patience the Minnesota public has with Coleman.” That patience seems to be on the wane, which should, at least in theory, point to a resolution of this mess.

The polls might get worse if the media starts characterizing Coleman as a “sore loser.” I can think of a handful of high-profile conservative media figures — Ponnuru, Scarborough, and O’Beirne — who’ve urged Coleman to give up, and it’s unlikely to get any better for the defeated Republican.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.