Minnesota Polls Tighten in Both the Presidential and Senate Races

US President Donald Trump speaks during a "Great American Comeback" rally at Bemidji Regional Airport in Bemidji, Minnesota, on September 18, 2020. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Two polls released Thursday show the race for Minnesota’s ten electoral college votes between President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden, as well as the U.S. Senate race in that state between Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) and GOP challenger Jason Lewis, are tightening just days before election day.

In the presidential race, a Trafalgar Group poll of 1,065 respondents conducted between October 24 and October shows Biden’s lead over Trump in Minnesota is down to just 2.2 points, 45.9 percent to 43.7 percent, which is within the poll’s 2.92 percent margin of error.

A SurveyUSA poll of 649 likely voters conducted between October 23 and October 27 shows Biden’s lead in Minnesota over Trump is five points, 47 percent to 42 percent, barely outside the poll’s 4.6 percent margin of error.

Significantly, the U.S. Senate match between Smith and Lewis is even tighter than the presidential contest.

The SurveyUSA poll shows Smith with a three point lead over Lewis, 45 percent to 42 percent, which is within the poll’s 4.6 percent margin of error.

The SurveyUSA analysis that accompanied the release of the poll explained why the GOP’s Lewis is now in a statistical tie with Smith:

A week after lifting himself into an effective tie with incumbent Senator Tina Smith, Republican challenger Jason Lewis had emergency hernia surgery and newly wakes from the anesthesia to find himself today a nominal 3 points back with 6 days to go, still within striking distance, according to SurveyUSA research conducted exclusively for KSTP-TV in the Twin Cities and other Hubbard Broadcasting properties across Minnesota.

In 4 identical SurveyUSA tracking polls, Lewis’ support has increased steadily, from 36% in early September to 42% last week and today. Though Smith is treading water, absent any momentum, she has never dropped below 43% and ends today at 45%. Smith has surrendered a 17-point advantage she had among the state’s youngest voters , has seen a 21-point erosion in support among high-school educated voters, and has given up a 19 point edge among middle-income voters .

1/3 of likely voters have already returned a ballot. Smith’s salvation is that she leads by 38 points among this group. Among those who tell SurveyUSA they will vote in person on Election Day 11/03/2020, Lewis leads by 22 points, every one of which votes could be impacted by bad weather on Election Day, surging COVID, innocent mechanical malfunction, or nefarious systemic breakdowns. Chuck Schumer has little chance of capturing a majority in the US Senate without holding Smith’s seat as one of the 50 he must have if Joseph R. Biden is elected President or 51 Senators he must have if Donald J. Trump is re-elected.

Should Lewis defeat Smith on election day, it will be a major blow to Democrat hopes to win back the majority in the U.S. Senate.

A win by Trump in Minnesota would also be a major blow to Joe Biden’s presidential hopes.

Hillary Clinton won Minnesota’s ten electoral college votes over Donald Trump by a mere 44,000 votes in 2016, and paid little attention to the state.

This time around, both the Trump campaign the Biden campaign recognize the state is in play, though the Biden campaign has only recently focused the candidate’s efforts there.

Both President Trump and former Vice President Biden are expected to make campaign stops in Minnesota over the remaining days of the campaign.

On election day in 2016, President Trump won 306 electoral college votes, to Hillary Clinton’s 232.

Should President Trump succeed in moving the state’s ten electoral college votes from the Democrat column in 2016 to the Republican column in 2020, it could make the difference in the outcome of the closely contested 2020 presidential race.

Minnesota, New Hampshire, Nevada, and now New Mexico, are states Hillary Clinton won in 2016 that Donald Trump has an opportunity to win in 2020.

Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin are all states Donald Trump won in 2016 that the Biden campaign is targeting to win in 2020.

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