Minnesota Poll: Biden holds on to lead over Trump

A combination photo of two men.
In this combination photo, President Donald Trump (left) speaks at a news conference on Aug. 11, 2020, in Washington and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Del. on Aug. 13, 2020.
AP Photo file

A new MPR News/Star Tribune/KARE-11 Minnesota Poll of 800 registered voters shows former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by 48-42 percent with 8 percent undecided. 

The 6 point lead is up 1 percentage point from the last Minnesota Poll in mid-May. The new poll shows Biden with a considerable lead among women and in the core Twin Cities, while Trump draws his strongest support from outside the metro area. 

48% of likely Minnesota voters back Biden, vs. 42% for Trump
The poll found 48 percent of likely Minnesota voters support Democrat Joe Biden for president, versus 42 percent backing Republican Donald Trump and 8 percent undecided.
David H. Montgomery | MPR News

Charles Anderson, 63, is an Army veteran and retired high school social studies teacher who lives in Lafayette, 45 minutes northwest of Mankato. He didn’t hold back when asked his assessment of Trump. 

“To support him after seeing for almost four years the things he’s done and the things he’s not done and the interests that he has and the self-interest that he has. It’s deplorable.”

Anderson is clear that he will not vote for the president.

“Frankly I think anybody who believes in or votes for or supports Trump at this point is a f---ing idiot.”

Three polls this year show similar levels of approval for Donald Trump
Three polls conducted this year for MPR News, Star Tribune and KARE 11 show similar approval ratings for President Donald Trump among Minnesota voters.
David H. Montgomery | MPR News

Nina Alesci didn’t use strong language to describe her opposition to Trump. But she too has a hard time understanding why anyone supports the president.

“I don’t get it,” Alesci said. “I don’t get why people can’t just read his tweets and see the problems that I see. People say the media are biased in certain directions, but if you just read what he’s putting out there. He is not helping America move forward.”

Alesci, 48, is an epidemiologist who lives in Minneapolis, and the main reason she opposes Trump is his response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Trump could have led on 'wear a mask, social distance,' but he chose not to,” she said. “He chose to run it into a political issue. That was wrong.”

Poll question on Donald Trump's approval rating in MN by party
Around 43 percent of Minnesotans approve of Donald Trump, against 52 percent who disapprove.
David H. Montgomery | MPR News

Lee Shultz of Howard Lake said he will vote for Trump, although he didn’t sound excited about it.

“I really don’t think there is a good choice going forward,” he said. “I think it’s the lesser of two evils.”

Shultz said he would not vote for Biden.

“Because I believe that the Democrats are trying to turn us into socialists,” he said.

Most registered Minnesota voters—52 percent—disapprove of Trump’s job performance, according to the poll, about the same as the last Minnesota Poll found in mid-May. 

“If he would just maybe keep his mouth shut more often, I think it would be a lot better,” Shultz said.

Poll question on the perceived security of mail-in ballots
More Minnesotans believe mail-in ballots are protected from significant fraud than believe they are vulnerable, but there is a sharp partisan divide on the issue.
David H. Montgomery | MPR News

Like a solid majority of poll respondents—61 percent—Shultz plans to vote in person. He also falls in the category of a significant percentage of Minnesotans —41 percent—who worry about potential fraud connected to mail-in voting. 

“I believe there is a lot of corruption possibly in voting,” he said. “[I] don’t have any proof of that, but it is very easy to vote as someone else.”

Election officials in Minnesota insist that's not the case, and there are safeguards that protect mail-in ballots.

While the poll shows plenty of people are concerned about election fraud and mail-in balloting, half of those asked the question said they were not worried about it. 

The poll found the economy and jobs is the most influential issue for those who say they will back Trump, followed by crime, law and order. Racial justice and equity topped the list of issues for Biden voters, followed by the coronavirus and health care.

Poll question on Minnesota voters' top issues for 2020
Biden voters are likely to name racial justice and the coronavirus as their most important issues, while Trump voters name the economy and "law and order."
David H. Montgomery | MPR News

The poll was conducted by phone from Sept. 21 through 23. It has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.5 percentage points. 

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