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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ A new poll shows that former Vice President Walter Mondale, who will likely replace Paul Wellstone as the Democratic candidate for Senate, holds a solid lead over Republican challenger Norm Coleman.

Wellstone's death apparently had little effect on Minnesotans' leanings toward the Democratic party in the Senate race, according to the first public poll since the senator died in a plane crash last week.

Mondale leads Coleman 47 percent to 39 percent, the Minnesota Poll for the Star Tribune of Minneapolis showed. That's close to where the race stood two weeks ago when Wellstone led Coleman 47 percent to 41 percent.

The 8-percentage-point gap between Mondale and Coleman is larger than the 3.9 percent margin of sampling error. The poll interviewed 639 adults on Monday, with those who said they were likely to vote assigned more weight in the sample.

Leaders of the DFL, the Minnesota Democratic Party, scheduled a meeting for Wednesday night to ratify Mondale's selection. Party sources said the former vice president would speak to the gathering and was expected to file formal paperwork either Wednesday or Thursday.

Ninety-eight percent of Minnesotans recognize Mondale's name and 66 percent say they have a favorable image of him, compared with 15 percent unfavorable. Even among Republicans, more respondents, 39 percent, view him favorably than unfavorably, 37 percent.

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AP Special Correspondent David Espo contributed to this report.