In a new poll released today by Rasmussen Reports, Republican Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman now holds 5 and 4-point leads over his chief rivals—Al Franken and Mike Ciresi respectively.

The poll, conducted September 6th of 500 likely voters in the Gopher State, finds Al Franken has closed the gap from a 46-36 deficit in a March 2007 Rasmussen poll to 46-41. Franken is only viewed favorably by 46 percent of Minnesotans, with a very high number (47 percent) already having an unfavorable view of the satirist and actor.

Mike Ciresi trails Coleman 46 to 42 percent and also has higher unfavorable numbers (43 percent) than favorable (40 percent).

Coleman’s favorable numbers are actually quite good—54 percent—with 46 percent having an unfavorable view – Minnesotans seemed to have formed an opinion of their senior senator one way or the other. Coleman’s problem is that he is unable to reach the 50 percent support mark in election matchups against his DFL rivals despite the high unfavorability rankings of Franken and Ciresi.

In the previous public polling matchups between the candidates (SurveyUSA, July 2007), Coleman had a 49-42 lead on Franken and 48-42 lead over Ciresi.

The new Rasmussen numbers indicate that Minnesota’s Senate race remains one of the prized targets for the Democrats in the coming election.