Poll: Plurality of Minnesota Voters Say State Has ‘Too Many Refugees’

Somali Women in Minnesota
Jim Mone/AP

A new Suffolk University/St. Cloud Times poll released on Thursday shows that a plurality of Minnesota voters say the state has “too many refugees.”

Forty-four percent of likely Minnesota voters say the state has “too many refugees,” while 38 percent say the number of refugees in the state is “just right.”

A mere ten percent say they want more refugees.

Refugee resettlement is one of the key issues in the state that now has the largest Somali community in the country in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Most Somalis arrived in the state through the federal refugee resettlement program, or are children and grand-children of those who were resettled through that program.

GOP gubernatorial nominee Jeff Johnson has made ending the state’s participation in the federal refugee resettlement program a key element of his campaign.

That issue appears to be resonating with voters. Democrat nominee Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN-01), a big supporter of the refugee resettlement program, now leads Johnson by a mere five points, 46 percent to 41 percent, according to the Suffolk University/St. Cloud Times poll.

The poll of 500 likely Minnesota voters was conducted between August 17 and August 20 and has a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

The special election to replace former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), who resigned from the U.S. Senate in disgrace in January after sexual harassment photos surfaced, is also surprisingly close, according to the poll.

Forty-four percent of poll respondents say they support Democratic-Farmer-Labor nominee Tina Smith, while 37 percent support Republican nominee Karin Housley.

The regular election for a full six-year term in the U.S. Senate between incumbent Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Republican nominee Jim Newberger, in contrast, is not close at all.

Klobuchar leads Newberger by 20 points, 54 percent to 34 percent.

The poll did not do head-to-head matchups in the four Congressional races in the state that are on the list of 65 seats the GOP must win in November (62 currently held by Republicans, three currently held by Democrats) to maintain a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Breitbart News identified those four key Minnesota House races:

Minnesota: MUST WIN 2, MUST FLIP 2

CD-1 Open (Toss-up) MUST FLIP from D to R

CD-2 Lewis (Toss-up)

CD-3 Paulsen (Toss-up)

CD-8 Open (Toss-up) MUST FLIP from D to R

David Palelogos, the director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston, Massachusetts that conducted the poll, emphasized the positive results for Democrats in a statement released by Suffolk University.

“Senator Amy Klobuchar is setting a torrid pace for Democrats in Minnesota,” Paleologos said.

“Her popularity may impact other Democrats on the ballot, who can benefit from her ‘Klobuchar Coattails,’” he added.

Curiously, Paleologos failed to mention one of the most important findings of the poll, that a plurality of Minnesota voters say there are “too many refugees” in the state.

President Trump narrowly lost Minnesota in the 2016 Presidential election, and the state is expected to be in play in 2020.


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