KSTP/SurveyUSA: Smith, Lewis Senate race now a dead heat

Tom Hauser
Updated: October 21, 2020 07:15 PM
Created: October 21, 2020 05:52 PM

Democratic U.S. Senator Tina Smith is now in a dogfight to keep her Senate seat after her once double-digt lead dwindled to a one-point lead in our latest KSTP/SurveyUSA poll. Smith leads Republican challenger Jason Lewis 43% to 42%, with 12% undecided. Another three percent favor other candidates.

In mid-September Smith had a 47% to 36% lead over Lewis. Earlier in October she still maintained a seven-point lead, 44% to 37%.

"This Senate race could go either way and it's a bit of a surprise because Tina Smith has had a lot more resources than Jason Lewis," Carleton College political analyst Steven Schier told 5 Eyewitness News.

One thing fueling the tightening race is that Smith's lead among women and suburban voters has largely evaporated. Schier says ads some outside groups have been running with highlights of negative things Lewis has said about women on talk radio don't seem to be as effective as they once were.

"It's been a long time since Jason Lewis has been on the radio as a talk show host," Schier says. "He's been a member of the House. He's run for office for Congress twice and for some voters that's old news."

Smith led by our KSTP/SurveyUSA poll 47%  to 36% in September and 44% to 37% earlier this month.

As of Sept. 30, Smith had raised more than $14 million dollars and spent more than $11 million, flooding the TV airwaves with ads. Lewis, by comparison, has raised nearly $5 million and spent about $3.4 million.

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

Still, there's a stark different in support between the candidates geographically.

Smith leads big among urban voters 51% to 29%. Lewis leads big among rural voters 51% to 36%. Smith's once double-digit lead in the suburbs is now down to 44% to 42%.

"This poll indicates there is not one Minnesota," Schier says. "Here are two Minnesotas. There's the metro area which is blue for Biden and Smith and by big margins, but the entire rest of the state is favoring both Lewis and Trump."

Both Lewis and Smith haven't closed the deal within their own parties. Lewis has 88% support among voters who identify as Republicans, Smith has 87% support among Democrats. Smith, however, has a big advantage among independents 44% to 29%. Although it should be noted 19% of independents remain undecided.

The poll of 625 "likely voters" has a "credibility interval" (similar to margin of error) of +/- 5 percent. The respondents include 38% who self-describe as Republicans, 35% as Democrats and 23% as independents. Those number flucuate from poll-to-poll as some voters change their party preference.

Check out the full survey results above or click here.


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