KSTP/SurveyUSA poll: Abortion now ranked 2nd behind economy on list of key voter issues

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Abortion has again become a top political issue after the U.S. Supreme Court took steps to overturn Roe v. Wade this summer. A barrage of TV ads attacking GOP candidate for governor Scott Jensen has likely elevated the issue in Minnesotans’ minds as well.

RELATED: KSTP/SurveyUSA poll: Walz expands lead over Jensen to double digits

In our latest KSTP/SurveyUSA poll, the economy is cited by 25% of respondents as the issue most likely to influence their vote. At 19%, abortion is now the second most-cited issue among all voters and the top issue among women at 29%.

That’s a huge change from our last poll, when abortion ranked below crime and public safety and tied with inflation and COVID-19 as key issues.

“That has become a salient issue because of campaign messaging and advertising,” Carleton College political analyst Steven Schier said. “Scott Jensen is in the minority position on that issue and is being increasingly identified with it. The extent that remains a dominant issue in the campaign and remains so is a big problem for Scott Jensen.”

Schier says the biggest surprise from this poll is crime and public safety dropping to fourth at 13% among the key issues this year.

RELATED: KSTP/SurveyUSA poll: DFL incumbents lead 3 key races, but GOP challengers very close

“If Republicans were effectively messaging this fall, crime would be at or near the top of public concerns,” he said. “But instead, it’s behind abortion, which has been the main message of Democrats in this cycle, and that illustrates that Democrats at this point are running a better issue campaign than Republicans.”

One other issue has taken a tumble in voter concern.

This month, at 5%, COVID-19 doesn’t even make the top five issues concerning voters. In May, it ranked tied for third at 12%, perhaps indicating a growing complacency about the coronavirus.

SurveyUSA interviewed a representative cross-section of 775 Minnesota adults online from Aug. 30 through Sept. 4 using a sample provided by Lucid Holdings, LLC, of New Orleans. Of the adults, 657 were registered to vote. Of the registered voters, 562 were identified by SurveyUSA as being likely to vote in the November 2022 general election and were asked the questions that follow.

The pool of adult survey respondents was weighted to U.S. Census targets for gender, age, race, education and home ownership.

Among the poll respondents, 35% identified themselves as Republicans, 35% as Democrats and 26% as independents.

Read the full survey results below.