KSTP/SurveyUSA: Smith maintains Senate race lead, but it’s close

A Republican candidate hasn’t won a statewide race in Minnesota since Gov. Tim Pawlenty won the 2006 governor’s race. That streak is on the line with the 2020 Minnesota Senate race. With just days to go until the election, Democratic incumbent Tina Smith leads Republican challenger Jason Lewis by just three points, 45% to 42%. Ten percent remain undecided and 3% prefer other candidates.

"We have a very tight Senate race," said Carleton College political analyst Steven Schier. "When an incumbent senator is at 45%, that’s a danger zone. They are vulnerable to defeat."

Schier said the unusually large number of undecided voters could make Smith vulnerable.

"When you have this many undecideds in a survey, 10%, this late in the cycle, that indicates the incumbent has not yet made the sale with those people and that gives encouragement to the challenger," Schier told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS after analyzing the numbers.

KSTP/SurveyUSA: Smith leads Lewis, but Senate race tightens

However, Lewis faces some hurdles on his way to Election Day. He trails Smith among women by 10 points, 49% for Smith and 39% for Lewis. Lewis has a much smaller lead among men, 45% to 41%.

Lewis also trails by 20 points in urban areas of Minnesota, 52% to 32%, and by 10 points in the suburbs, 49% to 39%. However, Lewis has a commanding lead of 27 points, 57% to 30% in rural areas of northern, western and southern Minnesota.

Lewis also just underwent emergency hernia surgery this week that has taken him off the campaign trail for a few days.

"That can often be a problem because candidate appearances can sway voters through the media coverage and through those that are attending the actual event," Schier said.

Our poll of 649 likely voters was conducted Oct. 23 to Oct. 27 and has a credibility interval (similar to a margin of error) of +/-4.6%.