Minnesota is again attracting more polling attention, this time from ABC News/Washington Post. While the Land of 10,000 Lakes has been polling much closer lately, the ABC/WP survey (9/8-13; 615 MN likely voters; live interview) finds former Vice President Joe Biden opening up a much larger 57-41% lead over President Trump. This is inconsistent with other recent data (five polls) that found the margin ranging from four to nine points.
It’s also seemingly at odds with ABC/WP’s own findings in next door Wisconsin. The survey there (9/8-13; 605 WI likely voters; live interview) gives Mr. Biden a six-point, 52-46% lead, which is consistent with other polling.
Minnesota is again attracting the pollsters’ attention, and this time Morning Consult releases some new data. While the latest polls have shown a widening in Joe Biden’s standing to the high single-digit range, the Morning Consult track (9/4-13; 813 likely voters; selected online panel) sees only a four-point split between the national candidates with Mr. Biden maintaining a 48-44% edge. Minnesota is a must-win for the Democratic nominee.
In 2018, Republican Jim Hagedorn defeated Democrat Dan Feehan by a 50.1 – 49.7% slight margin, a spread of just 1,315 votes from more than 291,000 ballots cast. A Public Policy Polling survey that included some of their often used partisan push questions (9/10-11; 885 MN-1 voters; live interview) was just released and sees a virtual 2018 rerun result according to their latest data. The PPP projection finds both candidates tied with each having a support base of 41 percent.
Now, the Minnesota Senate race is attracting a great deal of attention after appearing dormant for most of the cycle. Since September began, five polls have been conducted of this race, which has clearly tightened from the big leads Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) once enjoyed. The latest survey comes from CBS News/YouGov (9/9-11; 1,100 MN registered voters; online; weighted) and they find Sen. Smith’s lead at 47-40%. Her average September advantage is 7.4%, with a median of eight percentage points through the five surveys.
The New York Times/Siena College survey partnership is back after having a successful 2018 election cycle in predicting election outcomes. The FiveThirtyEight statistical organization rates the NYT/SC as one of the top six polling entities in the country with an A+ rating.
Looking at the Minnesota race where recent polling has suggested a tightening of the presidential contest within the state, NYT/Siena (9/8-10; 814 MN likely voters; live interview) sees Joe Biden holding a stronger lead over President Trump than other current data. Here, the Biden margin is 50-41 percent. Even with this spread, the volatility seen here suggests we will see further competition in the closing weeks.
While several surveys had indicated that former US Rep. Jason Lewis (R) was moving to within the polling margin of error opposite Sen. Tina Smith (D), the latest New York Times/Siena College survey (9/8-10; 814 MN likely voters; live interview) finds a similar Senate partisan division as they did for the Minnesota presidential race. According to NYT/SC, Sen. Smith expands to a 49-40% margin.
Pollsters are active across the country in testing political campaigns and seem to be routinely delivering starkly different results for the same contests over a similar time frame. We have four such examples in Senate races.
Three different pollsters tested the Arizona Senate race between appointed Sen. Martha McSally (R) and retired astronaut Mark Kelly (D). While the three polling firms active during the first week of September all find Mr. Kelly leading, the point spread ranges from six all the way to 17 points. The high pollster for Kelly is Fox News (8/29-9/1; 772 AZ likely voters) and the six-point low is Democratic pollster Change Research (9/4-6; 470 AZ likely voters).
Four pollsters were testing Michigan in early September, and the spread here ranges from a one-point deficit for Republican businessman John James opposite Sen. Gary Peters (D) to a dozen percentage points. Here, the most favorable James pollster is the Republican Tarrance Group (9/1-3; 569 MI registered voters) and the strongest Sen. Peters’ survey comes from the London, England based Redfield & Wilton Strategies (8/30-9/3; 967 MI likely voters).
The Minnesota race between Sen. Tina Smith (D) and former US Rep. Jason Lewis (R) is attracting more attention. Three survey research firms were conducting polls in early September and found Sen. Smith’s advantage extending between two and eleven points. The high Smith poll came from Survey USA (9/4-7; 553 MN likely voters) and the best for Mr. Lewis is from Republican Harper Polling (8/30-9/1; 501 MN likely voters).
North Carolinians are regularly polled, and the beginning of September is no exception. Again, brandishing wide ranges, seven surveys and/or iterations within such were conducted during the same time frame, and the margin stretches between an even race for Sen. Thom Tillis (R) and former state Senator Cal Cunningham (D) to a ten-point spread. The even poll came from Monmouth University’s (8/29-9/1; 401 NC likely voters) low turnout model (but the high turnout model suggested only a two-point difference), while the high spike came for Mr. Cunningham from Redfield & Wilton Strategies (8/30-9/3; 951 NC likely voters).
Countering the recent Harper Polling survey (8/30-9/1; 510 MN likely voters) that found former Rep. Jason Lewis (R) closing to within two points of Sen. Tina Smith (D), Public Policy Polling released their latest Minnesota data (9/3-4; 877 MN voters) that projects an eight point spread, 49-41%, for the incumbent. Though PPP did not employ the ideological push questions that are present in some of their polls, it does appear that the sample skews approximately two percentage points in the Democrats’ favor. Therefore, the PPP poll realistically suggests that the actual margin is slightly closer than eight points, but more than two.
According to a new Harper Polling survey (8/30-9/1; 501 MN likely voters via live interview), former US Rep. Jason Lewis (R) has pulled almost even with Sen. Tina Smith (D). The HP survey finds Sen. Smith’s lead falling to 43-41%. Her stance on the police has much to do with Mr. Lewis becoming highly competitive. Earlier, the Senator stated that “we need to reimagine the police,” and that something is “dangerously wrong with the role police plays in society.” By a margin of 48-28%, the poll respondents stated they were less likely to vote for Sen. Smith because of her law enforcement position.
Minnesota has proven itself as the Democrats’ most loyal state in the presidential contest, last voting for a Republican, then-President Richard Nixon, in 1972. Every other state has gone Republican at least once during the 1972-present time span.
We are now seeing curious polling data coming from the state, but with a consistent trend. In late July, former Vice President Joe Biden was enjoying huge polling leads over President Trump. One survey, from Public Policy Polling (7/22-23; 1,218 MN voters) posted Mr. Biden to a ten-point, 52-42%, advantage. Now, however, the Minnesota race is brandishing much different numbers.
Just before the state’s August 11th primary election, Emerson College conducted a statewide survey (8/8-10; 733 MN likely general election voters) and found Mr. Biden’s lead dropping to only two points, 51-49%, in a poll where respondents were pushed to make a choice between the pair of candidates. Now, the Trafalgar Group, the only pollster to correctly predict Wisconsin and Pennsylvania at the end of the 2016 election, finds the two candidates locked in a dead heat. Their most recent survey (8/15-18; 1,141 MN likely voters) sees the two men battling into a 47-47% tie. Since Hillary Clinton only won here in 2016 with a 1.5 percent margin, Minnesota is a state to watch as the presidential campaign hits its full stride.
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