Updated: September 09, 2020 07:40 PM
Created: September 09, 2020 06:47 PM
President Donald Trump likes to say if he had campaigned in Minnesota one more time in 2016 he would have beaten Hillary Clinton here. Instead, Clinton narrowly defeated Trump in Minnesota even though Clinton didn't campaign here even once.
It turns out Trump might need multiple visits to win Minnesota in 2020. According to our new KSTP/SurveyUSA poll, former Vice President Joe Biden leads Trump 49% to 40%, with 7% undecided and 4% considering other candidates. That's compared to our final 2016 poll showing Clinton leading Trump 49% to 39% and then clinging to a victory of just 1.5%.
"Joe Biden has a lead, but this race in Minnesota is not in the bag," said University of Minnesota political scientist Larry Jacobs. "We've got a five-point margin of error."
The poll tells a tale of two Minnesotas: the urban core of Minneapolis and St. Paul and the rural areas of Greater Minnesota. Biden leads 55% to 34% in the Twin Cities. He has a much smaller lead in southern Minnesota, including Rochester, where he leads 48% to 44%. However, Trump has a commanding lead in northeastern Minnesota, 61% to 37%. He also has a big lead in western Minnesota, including much of the 7th Congressional District, 48% to 29%.
Jacobs said the two candidates are likely to play to their strengths in Minnesota during the last six weeks of the campaign.
"Here's a prediction," Jacobs said: "Donald Trump, when he visits next time... northern Minnesota. These are Trump voters. He may also go around southern Minnesota where it's closer but there are pockets of strong Trump supporters. Whereas Joe Biden, when he does come to Minnesota, he's going to be in the Twin Cities looking to pick up votes in the urban core."
Jacobs also said it could be a very unpredictable Election Day because of mail-in voting. For this year only, Minnesotans can put their vote in the mail up to and on Election Day and it will be counted if it arrives within seven days.
KSTP's poll shows Biden leads among voters who say they will mail in their ballot by a whopping 55 points, 71% to 16%. Trump leads among voters who will vote in-person by 27 points, 59% to 32%. If the race is close we might have to wait until a week after the election to know who won Minnesota.
"It's six weeks out," Jacobs said. "There are a good number of voters who are still up for grabs and there's a long campaign left."
Our poll was conducted from Sept. 4 to Sept. 7 and includes a sample of 36% Democrats, 34% Republicans and 25% Independents.
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