September 16, 2018 10:23 PM
Democrats have had a vice grip on the office of Minnesota attorney general for 47 years, but the 2018 race for that job is shaping up as the closest in decades. A KSTP/SurveyUSA poll shows Democrat Keith Ellison and Republican Doug Wardlow deadlocked at 41 percent each.
"This is anybody's race," said political scientist Steven Schier. "Ellison is vulnerable in a way other Democrats are not."
Schier said that is largely due to allegations of domestic abuse made against Ellison by a former girlfriend. Ellison has denied the allegations. However, they appear to be having an impact on his campaign.
When asked if the allegations are a "factor" in whether they vote for Ellison, 40 percent said they "are a factor" and 39 percent said they are not. The other 21 percent said they're not sure.
"That 40 percent is a serious problem," Schier said. "It's probably not going to go away between now and Election Day."
Despite the allegations, Ellison has a big lead among female "likely voters," 49 percent to 31 percent. Wardlow leads among men 51 percent to 34 percent.
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Ellison's opponent, Doug Wardlow, said he thinks the allegations will be a problem for Ellison, but not the only one he sees with Ellison.
"Keith Ellison has basically pledged to use the office to wage war against President Trump," Wardlow said. "And regardless of what anyone thinks about President Trump it's not appropriate to use the office of attorney general to wage a political war. To push a political agenda."
Ellison declined multiple requests for interviews about the poll. 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS sent the results to his campaign hoping for a statement from him. Instead, campaign spokesman Sam Fettig sent an email statement. The statement did not specifically address any findings in the poll, including about the domestic abuse allegations.
"This poll confirms what Congressman Ellison has been hearing in conversations throughout the state, that health care is a top concern for Minnesota families. Grassroots support for Congressman Ellison will continue to grow between now and Election Day, because voters want a champion for affordable health care, a fair economy, and equal opportunities for all, who will stand up to the Trump administration and special interests – not use the office to strip away health care and serve President Trump.”
In addition to a gender gap in support for the two candidates, there is also a big geographic divide. Ellison leads 64 percent to 19 percent in urban areas. Wardlow leads in rural areas 50 percent to 29 percent and in suburbs 48 percent to 35 percent.
Our poll has a margin of error of +-4.9 percent. It includes a sampling of 33 percent Republicans, 37 percent Democrats and 25 percent independents. It was conducted between Sept. 6 and Sept. 8.
Updated: September 16, 2018 10:23 PM
Created: September 14, 2018 05:40 PM
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