Just a few months ago, Al Franken had plenty of reasons to smile about his chances of unseating Minnesota's Republican Sen. Norm Coleman .
Minnesotans oppose the war -- and the president -- that Coleman supported. Franken was doing his homework: he had entered the race early and was running a strong grass-roots campaign focused on local organizing and smaller-venue events.
And, in early June, he secured the DFL nomination at the state convention on the first ballot.
But costly mistakes in the campaign of former Saturday Night Live writer are now imperiling his chances of winning.
Poll trends in the past several weeks indicate that Coleman has increased his lead over Franken. Although the numbers have fluctuated, four of the last five polls show Coleman ahead of Franken - three by more than 10 points. So now, CQ Politics is changing the rating on the race to Leans Republican from No Clear Favorite.