Kaufman: Presidential polls tighten in Minnesota

“Minnesota is now one of the likeliest states to be the Electoral College tipping point."

Screenshot from YouTube

The race for Minnesota continues to tighten at the presidential level, according to new polling.

Two weeks ago I analyzed the issue of a Republican candidate potentially turning the Land of 10,000 Lakes red for the first time in nearly a half century.

In a confirmation of the narrowing polls, Joe Biden aired his first television ads in the state yesterday; last week, his campaign included Minnesota in a list of battleground states he plans to visit.

Likely due to his aggressive stance against urban rioting, standing with workers, support for gun rights and opposition to environmental extremism, Trump recently earned the endorsements of six Democrat mayors across the state.

Most famously, that included Eveleth Mayor Robert Vlaisavljevich, who spoke at last week’s Republican National Convention.

“Since the Iron Range economy is vulnerable to economic trends and to foreign trade, we have always needed a strong voice in Washington. We looked to Democrats to fill that void for many years because we actually thought they cared about our welfare. Not anymore,” he said. “The radical environmental movement has dragged the Democratic party so far to the left, they can no longer claim to be advocates of the working man.”

Standing alongside Vice President Mike Pence at an Aug. 29 campaign event in Duluth, Mayor Gary Doty also endorsed Trump.

“I come from a [Democratic-Farmer-Labor] family and many of them still are. My dad was the head of the Teamsters and the things he fought for — jobs, benefits, and working men and women — the Democratic Party has lost that. They’ve gone so far left I can’t support the Democratic ticket this year,” Doty said.

If Trump has a path forward in Minnesota, he will need to improve in the Twin Cities suburbs, in addition to rural areas. To that end, he is appealing to voters affected by violence and chaos in their neighborhoods. Trump has hammered the mayhem and destruction in Minneapolis, which until this week, Biden inexplicably failed to do.

If Trump wins Minnesota, he could lose Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin and still win the election.

“Minnesota is now one of the likeliest states to be the Electoral College tipping point — the state that delivers the next president his decisive 270th electoral vote. So assuming that future presidential elections are closer contests, be prepared for Minnesota to be one of the main swing states going forward — and know that the next time a Republican wins the White House, there’s a good chance Minnesota’s blue streak will have come to a long-awaited end,” wrote Nathaniel Rakich, a FiveThirtyEight analyst.

Minnesota is indeed an inflection point. In 1984, the state was 18 points more Democratic than the nation as a whole. In 2016, however, for the first time since 1952, Minnesota voted more Republican than the rest of the country. Barack Obama carried the Gopher State by nearly 225,000 votes in 2012, whereas Hillary Clinton won by just 44,000 four years ago.