Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenDemocrats, GOP face crowded primaries as party leaders lose control Gillibrand: 'I definitely want to run for president again' Maher chides Democrats: We 'suck the fun out of everything' MORE (D-Minn.) has widened his lead over Republican challenger Mike McFadden to 18 points, according to a new SurveyUSA/KSTP poll.

Franken leads McFadden 55 percent to 37 percent in the poll of 577 likely voters released this week, double the 9-point lead he held in the same poll last month.


Both candidates have strong support within their own party. Among Republicans, McFadden draws 84 percent support while Franken enjoys 94 percent support among Democrats. Franken, though, holds a 17-point lead among independents, the poll found.

Franken has 15-point lead among men and a 21-point lead among women. The incumbent senator is also posting double-digit edge in every part of the state.

Polling ended a day after the two candidates' first debate Oct. 1. The pair will go head to head in two more debates in late October and early November. 

Franken, a former "Saturday Night Live" star, has consistently led McFadden, a self-funded businessman in polling.

Minnesota Star Tribune poll released last month found the Democrat with a 13-point advantage among likely voters.

The SurveyUSA poll used a blend of automated home telephone calls and cellphone surveys from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. It has a 4-percent margin of error.