November 01, 2018 10:20 PM
Neither campaign is holding back any punches in the final days of the race for Minnesota attorney general.
It's a battle that is being waged on the airwaves and in digital ads between DFL candidate Keith Elllison and Republican candidate Doug Wardlow.
And the latest KSTP/SurveyUSA poll shows Ellison has gained a four-point lead over Wardlow - 44 percent to 40 percent - with 12 percent undecided, and four percent indicating they’ll vote for someone else.
KSTP Attorney General Race Coverage
"It's a very competitive race, (and) these are two candidates (who) are almost as far apart as you could be on the issues," said Kathyrn Pearson, a University of Minnesota political science professor.
“I think anything could happen on election night."
KSTP/SurveyUSA Attorney General Race Numbers
Keith Ellison, DFL, 44 percent
Doug Wardlow, R, 40 percent
Undecided, 12 percent
Margin of error: +/-5.3 percent
The poll was conducted between Oct. 29 to Oct. 31. It included interviews with 1,000 Minnesota adults, 600 of whom said they have already voted or are nearly certain to do so by Election Day.
Just six weeks ago, Wardlow and Ellison were locked at 41 percent in the KSTP/SurveyUSA poll.
"The latest poll suggests Democrats are coming home to their party, and negative partisanship or dislike for the other party's candidate may be a particularly strong force in this race," Pearson said.
Ellison has denied the allegations of domestic abuse raised by ex-girlfriend Karen Monahan throughout the campaign.
The poll asked voters:
Are the domestic abuse allegations against Keith Ellison a factor in deciding how you will vote for Attorney General? Or Not?
37% A Factor
43% Not a Factor
21% Not Sure
Just 26 percent of Democrats say the abuse allegations will be a factor in how they vote.
Ellison picked up 53 percent of female voter support, compared to Wardlow’s 31 percent in the new poll. The poll also found Wardlow had the most support in northeast Minnesota followed by the western side of state.
While Ellison led with voters who reside in the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota. The largest group of undecided voters in the race was found in the Twin Cities.
Of respondents who told KSTP/SurveyUSA that they have already returned a ballot, Ellison leads by 27 points - 57 to 30 percent.
Both candidates issued statements on the poll Thursday:
"While my opponent has pushed professional discrimination for a hate group, our campaign is working hard to connect with voters across the state about my commitment to be an Attorney General who protects the rights of all, regardless of how we look, who we love, how we pray, or where we live," Ellison's read.
"Minnesotans in all 87 counties are rallying to our campaign," read Wardlow's statement. "In the last 5 days, we have 36 campaign stops scheduled covering 1,800 miles. I look forward to talking with voters as we head in to the final stretch and discussing issues like consumer protections, stopping human trafficking, fighting our opioid crisis and removing politics from the Attorney General's office."
Pearson teaches a class on campaigns class at the University of Minnesota. And 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS stopped in to talk with students who will be voting in the attorney general race.
"Personally, I think the race is a lot closer than a lot of people anticipated," student Zach Fisher said.
"Some people chose not to vote for that part of the ballot,” fellow student Brian Rosas added.
"I've met a lot of people are choosing to do that - instead of voting for either one of them."
But Heather Kenney felt other voters in the attorney general race will end up voting party over person.
"Well, I think part of that issue plays into how partisan the office of attorney general has become," Kenney said.
“It's more about policy agenda."
Updated: November 01, 2018 10:20 PM
Created: November 01, 2018 08:08 PM
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