The latest poll out of Suffolk University shows that Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson (pictured, left) trails his opponent Rep. Tim Walz (pictured, right) by only five points in the race for Minnesota’ governorship.
The poll, conducted between August 17 and August 20, surveyed 500 Minnesotans on their opinions of candidates running in the upcoming gubernatorial and senatorial races, all of which are guaranteed to be high-stakes races for the typically blue state.
Recurring physical and mental health issues have sidelined Gov. Mark Dayton, who will not seek reelection, leaving the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party endorsement open for Rep. Tim Walz, who is leading Johnson by a small margin of five points, according to Suffolk.
In the governor’s race, Minnesota voters ranked healthcare as the most important issue facing the state, with gun control measures placing near the bottom at just 4.8 percent. The economy and taxes both tied for second at 16 percent.
Among those polled, 47 percent answered that they are “extremely interested” in the race,” while another 32 percent responded that they are “very interested.” 90 percent of respondents said they will “almost certainly” vote in the upcoming midterm elections.
Looking at the two Senate races in Minnesota, 43 percent of voters are leaning towards DFL candidate Tina Smith, who leads Republican Karin Housley by seven points in the race to replace Sen. Al Franken, who resigned from Congress after facing sexual harassment allegations. 46 percent of respondents agreed with Franken’s decision to step down, though a surprising 44 percent disagreed.
Republican Jim Newberger trails incumbent Sen. Amy Klobuchar by a large margin of 20 points, with 65 percent of voters having a “favorable” opinion of Klobuchar.
Minnesota is currently taking in a significant number of refugees as part of the federal government’s refugee resettlement program, with 44 percent of voters saying the state takes in “too many” refugees. On the campaign trail, Johnson has promised to fight to end the refugee resettlement program in Minnesota if elected governor.
Minnesotans’ opinions of President Donald Trump were surprising, with 42 percent saying they voted for the president, and 44 percent saying they voted for Hillary Clinton. Of those, 91 percent answered that they did not “regret” their voted in the 2016 Election.
Additionally, 39 percent of Minnesota voters approve of the job Trump is doing, with 54 percent disapproving, though 33 percent said their standard of living is better now than it was four years ago.
Of those polled, 41 percent associate with the DFL and 36 percent associate with the GOP. 90 percent of respondents identified as white, while 3 percent identified as African American.