WASHINGTON – Statewide, Rep. Ilhan Omar is an unpopular member of Minnesota’s congressional delegation and Rep. Betty McCollum and Sen. Tina Smith enjoy high favorability rating, according to a new MinnPost/Embold Research poll.
Twenty-seven percent of the statewide poll’s respondents said they viewed Omar, D-5th District, favorably, while 57% said they viewed her unfavorably. By calculating the difference between the favorable and unfavorable percentages, pollsters come up with a net positive or negative score for politicians. In Omar’s case, the negative 30-point gap was the widest of any Minnesota politician included in the poll.
That’s a higher unfavorable rating than poll respondents gave former President Donald Trump in a state that has not elected a Republican president since Richard Nixon’s reelection in 1972 and where no Republican has won statewide office since Gov. Tim Pawlenty was reelected in 2006. Poll respondents gave Trump a 35% favorable and 57% unfavorable rating.
For President Joe Biden on this poll, that was -10 percentage points, with women, college educated voters and urban respondents giving him the highest marks. Crosstabs for the poll can be found here.
More bad news for Biden: 50% of Minnesotans surveyed preferred to vote for a congressional candidate who would “be a check on Joe Biden’s policies,” while 40% said they would vote for a congressional candidate who supported the president’s policies.
The MinnPost/Embold Research poll surveyed 1,585 likely Minnesota voters from Oct. 10 to Oct. 14. Its margin of error was +/- 2.6 percentage points.
Rep. Brad Finstad, R-1st District, who has only been in office since Aug. 12, was the only incumbent not included in the poll. Finstad won a special election to fill the remaining term of Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who died in February.
The poll found that Smith, a Democrat, had a net favorability rating of +3 points. So did McCollum, D-4th District. But the poll also showed there’s a gender gap, with both Smith and McCollum faring much better among women – especially college-educated women – than men. Male respondents gave Smith a 10-point unfavorable rating and McCollum a 5-point unfavorable rating.
Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, meanwhile, scored a +2 rating and, according to the poll, has the highest name recognition among the members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation. Only 2% of the poll’s respondents said they never heard of Klobuchar, who has served in the U.S. Senate since 2007 and ran unsuccessfully for the White House in 2020.
Omar also had high name recognition: Only 5% of those surveyed said they never heard of her.
Tim Lindberg, a political science professor at the University of Minnesota Morris, said Omar’s high name recognition could be a curse.
“For a U.S. House member, unless you are in a position of power like Nancy Pelosi, (name recognition) is not a good thing because it usually indicates you have a lot of negative attention on you,” Lindberg said.
Although Omar’s popularity ratings were dismal in the state as a whole, the poll showed she remains more popular in the area around her Minneapolis-based district. Respondents to the poll who live in Minneapolis and St. Paul gave Omar a -9 favorability rating, while Greater Minnesota and Twin Cities suburban respondents gave Omar -41 and -52 net favorability ratings, respectively.
Rep. Angie Craig, D-2nd District, who is in a very competitive race for reelection, had a -2 favorability rating. Women gave Craig, who has made abortion rights a major issue in her campaign, an 8% favorability rating, while men gave the candidate a -12.
Rep. Dean Phillips, D-3rd District had a +1 favorability rating. While Phillips wants a new generation of Democratic leaders in Congress and the White House, the poll showed he has the strongest support among likely voters who are 65 years old and older.
In a state with more Democratic voters than Republican voters, the Republican members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation all suffered from unfavorable ratings in the poll.
Most unpopular among the GOP lawmakers was Rep. Michelle Fischbach, R-7th District, who touted Trump’s endorsement. Twenty-eight percent of the poll’s respondents said they never heard of Fischbach, while 33% said they viewed her unfavorably and 17 % said they viewed her favorably for a -16 rating.
“I don’t know if that’s a reflection of her being the most ‘Trumpist’ of the lawmakers or if it has to do with the realization she can’t do as much as (former Rep. Collin) Peterson, who had been in office for years,” Lindberg said.
In 2020, Fischbach defeated Peterson, who had represented the 7th District in Congress for 30 years, climbing to the top of the House Agriculture Committee.
Meanwhile, the poll gave Rep. Tom Emmer, R-6th District, a -10 favorability rating and Rep. Peter Stauber a -6 favorability rating. But 40% percent of the respondents said they never heard of Stauber and 27% said they had never heard of Emmer.
The statewide poll said respondents were nearly evenly split when it came to a “generic” congressional ballot, with 45% saying they would support a Republican and 46% saying they would support a Democrat. However, a number of national polls show the GOP is gaining strength in polls regarding generic ballots.
A Harvard CAPS-Harris poll released Monday found that if the election for Congress was held today, 53% of its respondents said they were more likely to vote for a Republican and 47% said the same for a Democrat.