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Minnesota presidential polls: all over the place

In the latest, by Morning Consult, Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by 47-44 percent, with a margin for error of +/- four points.

Joe Biden
REUTERS/Carlos Barria
According to the Morning Consult poll, Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by 47-44 percent, with a margin for error of +/- four points.
Of Minnesota note: Morning Consult is publishing today (Tuesday) fresh numbers on the presidential race in our dear state based on an online poll of 650 Minnesotans categorized as likely voters who responded between July 17 and July 26 (Sunday).

According to their poll, Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by 47-44 percent, with a margin for error of +/- four points. Biden led 91-5 percent among Democrats; Trump led by an identical 91-5 among Republicans, and Biden led among independents by 39-36, which obviously suggests a finding of “too close to call,” and also reminds that a pretty big chunk who call themselves “independents” have really made up their minds.

I would describe that result as out of line with most recent polls of the race in Minnesota, which showed Biden with a more commanding, statistically significant lead in the state, which has not given its electoral votes to a Republican in the 11 quadrennial elections. (That would be since Richard Nixon in 1972, when he carried 49 states over Democrat George McGovern.) Before that you’d have to go back to 1956, when everyone liked Ike. (If you don’t get that Like Ike reference, ask your parents.)

But, as you recall, Trump came surprisingly close to winning Minnesota in 2016 against Hillary Clinton, who carried our state by just 46.4 percent to 45 percent for Trump.

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Most other recent polls that I’ve seen have shown Biden with a substantially bigger lead in Minnesota. Real Clear Politics, for example, shows three recent polls of Minnesotans by three different pollsters with an average lead for Biden of 11.4 points, but it is perhaps worth mentioning that the most recent of the three showed Biden up by just 5 percentage points.

FiveThirtyEight.com, likewise, shows the two most recent polls it tracked in Minnesotans with a similar range: In one, completed July 25 by Trafalgar, Biden led by just 49-44 . But in the other, by Fox News, no less, and dated July 18-20, Biden had a much, much bigger lead of 51-38.

All of this reinforces my general advice to not treat polls as predictions. But if you want to know what my gut says, it says that Minnesota is not seriously in play, but that the polls are all over the place.