Former Vice President and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden only has a slim hold on Minnesota, according to a new poll.
The poll, conducted by MPR, the Star Tribune, KARE 11 and consulting firm Mason-Dixon surveyed 800 registered Minnesota voters to determine that 49% of the state prefers Biden as opposed to 44% who prefer President Donald Trump. The poll’s margin of error means that there’s a 22% chance that the data is wrong, and Trump actually leads the state, according to MPR’s David Montgomery.
In a new poll of MN, Joe Biden has a 49%-44% lead over Donald Trump, among registered voters. With a sample size of 800, the margin of error means there’s a ~88% chance Biden is actually ahead given sampling error. More from @Stowydad at @MPRnews: https://t.co/DaA5K2WtMd pic.twitter.com/JaCJIUzvh1
— David Montgomery (@dhmontgomery) May 24, 2020
Trump’s Minnesotan supporters reside mostly outside the metro area. Hennepin and Ramsey counties that contain the Twin Cities are 62% in favor of Biden, while Northern and Southern Minnesota prefer Trump by a 56%-38% and 57%-39% margin respectively, per MPR.
Political analyst Dr. Rubrick Biegon of the University of Kent says that Minnesota’s growing rural-urban divide, along with shifting demographics, could present a major stumbling block for any Republican looking to control the state.
In 2016, Trump only lost Minnesota to Hillary Clinton by 1.5% in 2016. This is somewhat remarkable given the fact that Minnesota is the state with the longest continuous blue streak in presidential elections. The last Republican to turn Minnesota red was former President Richard Nixon in 1972. Obama won the state by 10.4% and 7.7% in 2008 and 2012 respectively.
Sensing a potential to create another swing state, the president’s reelection campaign has invested heavily in Minnesota in preparation for November 2020. In 2016, his campaign had just one staffer in the state who also worked in Colorado. However since at least October 2019, the campaign has been constructing a network of staff and volunteers on the ground in Minnesota, per The Hill.
The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t appeared to slow Trump’s efforts in Minnesota either. Trump Victory, a joint fundraising group comprised of the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC), says it reached out to 1.4 million voters over the phone in late March. 100,000 (7%) of these calls came from Minnesota volunteers alone.
Meanwhile, tensions between Minnesota’s liberal state government and the White House have been glaringly obvious in recent days. Governor Tim Walz criticized the president’s assertion that worship is an essential service, Saturday. “Of course I think the case that the president is making, and that may be up for debate in this country, of deeming houses of worship essential, essential services,” he said.
Walz also suggested that “somebody in the federal government” diverted a shipment of medical gowns that was bound for Minnesota, recently, despite his previous claim that the White House has helped supply the state with whatever it needs.
It remains difficult to predict how voters will respond to the apparently mounting tensions between Trump and their own liberal state government when it comes time to vote for the next president in roughly 5 months.