KSTP/SurveyUSA poll: Klobuchar opens with wide lead; DFL has slim edge in bid to retain House majority

SURVEYUSA results: U.S. Senate and Minnesota House

SURVEYUSA results: U.S. Senate and Minnesota House

The presidential race will be the biggest focus on Election Day in November, but there will be key state races, too.

Democrat Amy Klobuchar is hoping to become Minnesota’s first four-time U.S. senator, and Republicans are trying to win back control of the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Klobuchar might be the most popular politician in Minnesota history, at least according to margins of victory in three previous Senate races. Since 2006, she’s won by margins ranging from 20 to 34 percentage points.

According to our first KSTP/SurveyUSA poll of the race between Klobuchar and Republican challenger Joe Fraser, the incumbent has a 16-point lead, 49% to 33%. Another 14% of respondents said they were undecided, and 9% said they preferred another candidate.

“Joe Fraser’s name ID is probably in the teens,” said Brian McClung, who was former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s communications director. “He just got started a few weeks ago, and he’s already at 33% in your poll. So that shows there’s a good, solid block of Republican voters for him to start with, but the trick is how do you get past that 50% plus one?”

McClung added that no Republican has won statewide office in Minnesota since Pawlenty in 2006.

Former DFL Sen. Jeff Hayden noted Klobuchar’s massive fundraising advantage could help steer her to victory in November.

“I think once the campaign starts, Amy’s going to have a huge, huge war chest as well as the state party is really well-positioned to help her,” Hayden said.

Then there’s the battle for control of the Minnesota House, where Republicans need to pick up four seats to win a majority.

Democrats hold a 5-point edge over Republicans among likely voters who responded to our survey, 46% to 41%, with 11% undecided and 3% stating their preference for another candidate.

DFL candidates have a 34-point lead in urban areas and a smaller 8-point lead in suburbs. Republicans, meanwhile, hold a 25-point lead in rural areas.

McClung pointed to three vulnerable House districts that could provide an opening for a GOP House majority.

“There are two rural Democrats in the House right now, and I think they could be in danger. And there’s an open seat in Winona,” McClung said. “I think Republicans do see a path to winning the state House back.”

Hayden argued control of the House could come down to campaign resources, much like in the U.S. Senate race.

“I think the same problem Republicans are going to have that Joe Fraser is going to have is that they don’t have the war chest that the Democrats have,” Hayden said. “I think [Speaker Melissa Hortman] is super-focused on not just keeping the seats that they have but to grow.”

View the full survey results below: