ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Minnesotans’ deep disagreements about the condition of the state and nation are entrenched along party lines, according to a new St. Cloud State University survey, but the satisfaction is significantly down overall from recent years.
Asked who they would vote for if the presidential election were held today, SCSU’s poll has former Vice President Joe Biden leading in Minnesota with 54% of the vote. President Donald Trump polled at 39%.
The survey authors noted that Biden’s lead is outside the margin of error but cautioned that the poll underestimated Trump’s 2016 performance in Minnesota by about 10%.
“While we expect that the estimate for Biden is likely to be very accurate, we have less confidence in the figure for Trump based on past experience and we recommend caution,” the authors wrote.
Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., has a significant lead against Republican challenger Jason Lewis, with the race at 53% for Smith to Lewis’s 36%.
St. Cloud State University Survey’s Annual Fall Statewide Survey findings are based on landline and cell phone interviews of a representative sample of 372 Minnesota adults from Oct. 10-29. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 6.7%.
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Top issues: Pandemic, civic divisions
Poll respondents said the COVID-19 pandemic, political division and current national leadership are the top issues facing the electorate.
Trump’s response to COVID-19 was disliked by 60% of Minnesotans surveyed overall, but of those with a stated political affiliation, 83% of Republicans and 5% of Democrats approved of the president’s pandemic response. Meanwhile, 69% of all respondents said they support the state’s indoor mask mandate in public spaces (33% of Republicans and 97% of Democrats).
The president’s reponse to protests after the death of George Floyd gained approval from 73% of Republicans and 3% of Democrats.
Two-thirds of those surveyed believe Minnesota is capable of running a fair and accurate election.
The questions for the SCSU survey were developed by faculty directors of St. Cloud State’s Survey Center.
Are Minnesota and the nation on the right track?
The answer largely depends on party affiliation, but satisfaction is showing clear declines from recent years.
While 70% of Minnesotans surveyed in 2017 said the state was headed in the right direction, just 46% said they believed that last month. The SCSU survey found 48% of Minnesotans said the state is on the wrong track, a jump of more than 20 percentage points from 26% in 2018.
On the national situation, 28% of SCSU poll participants said the country is heading in the right direction; 66% said the United States is on the wrong track.
Satisfaction levels break down strongly along party lines: 71% of Democrats surveyed said they believe Minnesota is headed in the right direction. Only 17% of Republicans agreed.
On the national question, 93% of Democrats surveyed said they believe the nation is on the wrong track, 34% of Republicans shared that view.
Regardless of political affilliation, 28% of Minnesotans surveyed said they believe the nation is headed in the right direction.
This article originally appeared on St. Cloud Times: Biden leads Trump by 15 points in Minnesota, St. Cloud State University poll finds