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DFLers ‘up big’ in Minnesota, NBC/Marist poll finds

The poll has DFL gubernatorial nominee Tim Walz leading Republican Jeff Johnson by 55 percent to 38 percent among likely voters.

Sen. Tina Smith
NBC finds appointed Sen. Tina Smith ahead of Republican challenger Karin Housley 54-38 percent.
MinnPost photo by Lorie Shaull

NBC and its polling partner Marist are out with a Minnesota-only poll that is very good for Democrats in general (yes, they are so clueless that they don’t seem to know that our Dems are DFLers). The results are out of line with most other recent polling, and all in the same direction, so take them with a grain of salt (although it could be that the Dems are pulling further ahead in good ol’ Minnesota).

Under the headline, “Democrats Up Big in Minnesota as Trump Approval Sags,” the poll also finds DFL candidates in most of the major state races have big and widening leads.

According to NBC/Marist poll:

DFL gubernatorial nominee Tim Walz leads Republican Jeff Johnson by 55 percent to 38 percent among likely voters. Other polls have generally shown Walz ahead, but not by that much. For example, the Star Tribune/MPR Minnesota Poll, published Sept. 21, showed Walz ahead 46-36.

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DFL U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar leads Republican challenger Jim Newberger by a whopping 63-33. No one has ever shown that to be a close race.

But in our other Senate race, NBC finds appointed Sen. Tina Smith ahead of Republican challenger Karin Housley 54-38 percent. The Strib/MPR poll had it 44-37, and while it has seldom been treated as a toss-up, some of the national pundits have believed it could be quite close. And it could be, if NBC/Marist’s poll is wrong. If it’s right, a 16-percentage-point lead is unlikely to disappear in the four weeks remaining till Election Day.

In races for the U.S. House, Minnesota has been blessed (or cursed, if you don’t like TV ads filled with scary music and ridiculous claims) with four competitive races. NBC/Marist didn’t poll those four races individually but instead asked their statewide sample of likely voters whether they planned to vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate for the U.S. House. That one came out 54-40 in favor of the generic Democrat.

Again, without polling specific House contests, the poll found a general preference for DFLers across all age groups, all income groups and all regions except southern Minnesota. That exception might be good news for Republican Jim Hagedorn, who has been locked in a tight race with DFLer Dan Feehan for the southern First District seat that Walz is vacating.

But if DFLers win the other three close congressional races, we would end up with a House delegation of six DFLers and two Republicans, compared to the current 5-3 split. (And, of course, I don’t need to remind you that polls are not always successful at predicting outcomes and there are still almost four weeks for things to change.)

Now then, as to President Trump — who will not be on the ballot, but who shocked the world two years ago by almost carrying our dear old state, which has gone for the Democrat in every presidential election since 1972 — 56 percent of likely voters told NBC/Marist that they disapproved of the job he is doing as president (44 percent of them said they disapproved strongly). That compares to 38 percent who approved of his work so far from the Oval Office, just 26 percent strongly.

I’ll say again that polls should not be taken as reliable predictors of outcomes, as 2016 showed.

Another word of caution: Reporting on the same poll this morning in his daily email, political junkie Blois Olson notes, “This same poll reported a poll on July 27, 2018 that showed Jeff Johnson trailing Tim Pawlenty by 19 points. That poll turned out to be off by 28 points with Johnson winning the election by 9. … The July poll also had Lori Swanson winning the DFL primary.”

NBC’s full writeup of the poll can viewed here.

The question wording and detailed breakdowns of their findings are here.